Bird scooters arrive on Shaw Avenue in Fresno, Clovis

A “nest” of Bird electric scooters on a sidewalk at Shaw and Peach avenues in Clovis. DANIEL LEON/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

Bird, the electric vehicle sharing company, unveiled its University Pop-Up Tour last week by dropping off a fleet of electric scooters at 150 college campuses across the country.

Fresno State was one of the campuses that received the scooters. In addition, “nests” of scooters can be found on eastbound Shaw Avenue heading into Clovis. There are typically three scooters at each “nest.”

The scooters are Bird’s effort to combat traffic and parking issues in colleges and larger cities.

“This year, as the summer comes to a close and students return to campus, they might be able to leave their cars behind by Birding,” Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden said in a statement. “Whether it’s making it to a class on time, clocking in for work, or simply getting to campus from the nearest public transit stop, Bird will help eliminate transportation gaps so students and faculty can focus on what really matters: education.”

In order to use the scooters, users must download the Bird smartphone app. Through the app, riders can locate the nearest Bird “nest,” pick up a scooter and ride to their destination. There is a $1 fee to start each ride and after that it’s 15 cents per minute.

Birds are are calibrated to reach a maximum of 15 miles per hour, and they last about 15 miles on a charge. The scooters are to be ridden in the bike lanes and on the street, rather than on the sidewalk. After each ride, they must be parked out of public pathways, preferably at bike racks.

The company also has measures in place to ensure the safety of riders. This includes:

  • Requiring riders upload a driver’s license and confirm they are older than 18.
  • Requiring all riders to consent to a safety agreement.
  • Showing riders an in-app tutorial on how to safely ride Bird.
  • Posting clear safety instructions on each scooter.
  • Providing free helmets to all riders who request one.

“Safety is a top priority for Bird as a company,” the company said in a statement. “The well-being of our riders is something we protect through concrete action, including: throttling the speed to a 15 mph maximum, requiring riders to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird. In addition, we were the first in the industry to offer free helmets to our riders. To date we have distributed more than 40,000 free helmets to Bird riders.”

Rides are only available during the day. Bird employees drop off scooters at “nests” by 7 a.m. and pick them up at the end of the day to store, charge and make any necessary repairs.

Since launching in September of 2017, Bird riders have logged over a million rides in over 30 cities nationwide.

Daniel Leon :A native of Woodlake, Daniel Leon is a recent graduate of Fresno State with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Daniel served as Sports Editor at The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper, prior to joining the Roundup. Got a story idea? Email him at editor@clovisroundup.com