Bird, a micromobility company based in Santa Monica, California, has announced today that it is giving out free scooter rides to customers who take selfies of themselves wearing helmets and post on the app in order to promote safety while riding electric scooters. People can also post their selfies wearing helmets on social media using the hashtag, #BirdHelmetSelfie.
E-scooters are an emerging technology and new mobility service. Like bike share and car share, the service provides a small electric-powered scooter that can be shared, to rent for one-way trips. This service makes use of an existing technology and adds app-based technology that provides the ability to share the devices using a short-term rental business model.
E-scooter technology undoubtedly is rapidly evolving, however, the risks associated are being given a cold-shoulder, considering the fact that E-scooters are lightweight and compact. Howbeit, risks are yet involved. If not deaths, fatal accidents have still been recorded.
According to a recent study conducted by University of California, Los Angeles , 249 patients were presented to the emergency department with injuries associated with electric scooter use during a 1-year period out of which only 4.4% of riders were documented to be wearing a helmet. The most common injuries recorded were fractures(31.7%), head injuries(40.2%) and soft-tissue injuries(27.7%). Low helmet use among other factors were concluded according to this study which was published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.
Bird, founded in 2017, this E-scooter company is targeting on maximizing the positive impact of micromobility by encouraging responsible riding. Operating in over 100 cities in Europe, Middle East and North America, Bird initially tried giving out free helmets in the cities its operating.
In order to curb the fatal accidents and encourage responsible riding, the company gave away 75,000 helmets in the last 18 months alone, however, this initiative did not result in the helmet adoption. Hence, Bird is now frantically opting a new plan in all high-hopes.
“Bird and the cities in which we operate share a number of common goals, including but not limited to improving the safety of all road users,” said Paul Steely White, Director of Safety Policy & Advocacy at Bird. “Our new Helmet Selfie product and Safety Marketplace are a direct outcome of ongoing conversations we’ve had with our partner cities, safety experts from leading academic and research institutions, as well as leading innovators in the helmet and safety protection industries. While the most effective way to reduce safety incidents is to improve infrastructure, we also want to help improve adoption around helmet usage to reduce injury severity in the event of an incident.”
Bird is inviting customers to submit a photo of themselves wearing a helmet at the end of each trip that would later incorporate towards a free ride. Bird is updating their app, that exerts machine learning to recognize which riders are really wearing helmets, in conjunction with free rides.
“Riders who demonstrate helmet usage will receive incentives such as future ride credits”, the company says.