Friday, September 7, 2018

Bird Scooters have arrived in Ann Arbor

Bird Scooters on Liberty at Main

Bird scooters have landed in Ann Arbor. They were not here when I left work yesterday evening, but this morning there were small flocks of them in several places in town. Now, I have not yet seen anybody riding one in Ann Arbor yet. I was in Detroit last week for a show at the Opera House and saw several people using the scooters to get from far away parking to the Taylor Swift concert at Ford Field.

Let's talk specs: Bird uses the Xiaomi M365 Electric Scooter which has a top speed of 15 mph and a 15 mile range. They cost $1 to activate and then cost an additional $0.15 per minute. That means a long scoot from Ann Arbor to Ypsi along the Border to Border trial will set you back $7 to $10.

It'll be interesting to see what the reaction to the Bird Scooters is like in Ann Arbor. So far, they don't seem to be taking up much public space. Given how much cleaner and safer they are compared to cars, perhaps we could rent some on street parking to Bird. Gentle readers, have you ever ridden a Bird or a Lime scooter? What was your experience like?

Bird Scooters on N Ashley at Huron


Here's a map of all the Birds:


  1. I rode a Bird twice during my visit to Tel Aviv. There are lots of ebike and electric kickstarter riders in Tel Aviv, so the addition of Bird is probably not as big a shock. There are plenty of protected bike lanes around Tel Aviv. Bikes, electric kick scooters, and cars seem to work around each other pretty well. The only road users that seem to get in conflicts are motor scooter riders that are aggressively lane splitting. The two issues I can anticipate are steep grades and the lack of a suspension on the M365 scooters that Bird uses. Riding on the street with cars is tough on poorly maintained roads for this scooter.

  2. I've used Bird a few times in other cities. IMO they're a convenient option for trips that would be a long walk but too short for buses/ridesharing/taxis/etc, especially if you're time-constrained, like running an errand on your lunch break.

    They're also just plain fun to ride.

  3. The city's on it, as indicated by today's email, called Motorized Scooters Notice:

    It came to the City of Ann Arbor's attention today, Sept. 7, that a vendor, Bird Rides, Inc., has deposited motorized scooters around the City for short-term use by City residents. Residents should be aware that operating or leaving these scooters on City sidewalks or leaving them in City streets is prohibited and subjects violators to citation by the City, penalties, and City removal of any left scooters.

    Your interest in updates from the City of Ann Arbor is appreciated.

    Thank you,
    City of Ann Arbor Communications

  4. (I like how the City of Ann Arbor has attention [to which such news can come].)

  5. This may be an unpopular opinion, but it doesn't bother me that the city is pushing back. Other commercial uses of the sidewalks (e.g. outdoor dining by restaurants) require a permit. Most (all?) businesses have some kind of legal processes. Why should Bird just swoop in (pun intended) and take advantage of the public commons without contributing to cost of maintaining public space? I'm not opposed to the scooters per se, but I'm not impressed by the deployment.