With DC launch, dockless e-scooter company wants to prevent pileups - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 28, 2018 11:40 am

With DC launch, dockless e-scooter company wants to prevent pileups

Bird is proposing measures to prevent clutter, and a payment from dockless companies to fund bike infrastructure.
A fleet of dockless Bird escooters.

A fleet of dockless Bird escooters.

(Courtesy photo)

When it comes to companies offering options for two-wheeled, dockless transportation, it’s starting to get pretty crowded on D.C. sidewalks.

The District’s dockless pilot brought five options for bikeshare without stations, and e-scooter options have also emerged in recent weeks.

This week, a new e-scooter company is set to start operating on D.C. That’ll make three.

In bringing another option, Bird’s leaders appear to have a measure of awareness of what they’re adding.

The Los Angeles–based company’s local launch comes with a challenge to the others who are already here. Bird issued the “Save Our Sidewalks” pledge.

“Although we are competitors, we all share a passion for the transformation that we are all working to bring about,” Bird founder Travis VanderZanden wrote. “But as an industry of innovators, we need to lead not just on technology, but on social responsibility.”

The pledge proposes daily pickup, regular removal and collecting and sharing data on how often the bikes and scooters are used to encourage responsible growth. There’s also a proposal for bike infrastructure, as Bird proposes a $1 per vehicle per day remittance to city governments for money that could be used for more bike lanes.

Golden Gate Bird ❤️ Hello SF! #lovebird #enjoytheride

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VanderZanden said it’s designed to prevent abandoned and broken-down bikes from over-running public sidewalks. It’s been an issue in areas where dockless bikeshare has grown quickly, such as Chinese cities. Soon after the pilot launched in D.C., dockless bikeshare bikes were being found in places that show the limits of the idea that bikes can be left anywhere.

The proposals from Bird come as the District is collecting data on the dockless program. Through April, it’s only a pilot.

While it’s unclear whether the other companies will support these ideas, they’re a reminder of potential issues with fast growth of a solution that’s designed to relieve congestion.

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