Bird e-scooters users in Battle Creek, Michigan, will soon be tasked with verifying their sobriety. The new safety feature is the latest attempt to prevent drunk riding. Bird plans to expand the safety feature to its 250+ partner cities around the world.
Bird’s new feature is called Safe Start. It’s essentially an in-app checkpoint. Riders who try to get on a scooter from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. will have to correctly enter a keyword on the app to access the device.
In a press release from Bird, Rebecca Hahn, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said, “Late night, scooters and other micro-electric vehicles provide a valuable mobility resource for third-shift workers, bar and restaurant staff, and many others. Safe Start is designed to help keep them and all members of the community safe on the street by encouraging responsible riding and keeping scooters available for those who truly need them.”
This safety feature comes after a study by the American Medical Association noted an estimated 2,656 e-scooter related injuries came from substance abuse. Of those injuries, 88 percent were alcohol-related.
Safe Start is just one of the most recent safety initiatives put out by Bird. The Ride Better campaign, Safety School video series, and the skid detection feature are also in place to reduce the number of electric scooter accidents and injuries.
In an interview with Bird, Detective Lieutenant Mark Marquis of the Tiffin Police Department in Tiffin, Ohio, praised the safety feature: “Sometimes all you need is that one reminder, that critical moment of deterrence, to change someone’s mind and prevent a potentially unsafe situation from taking place. Safe Start from Bird helps afford that moment by asking scooter riders to slow down, step back, and think, ‘Do I really want to be taking a risk right now by operating a vehicle under the influence?’ Ultimately this is a step in the right direction towards keeping our streets safe and secure for everyone.”
As mentioned, Bird plans to expand Safe Start throughout the summer. It’s currently being tested across the United States. Bird employees and city officials plan to monitor the effectiveness and impact of the in-app checkpoint to determine if further action should be taken.
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