Image: Bird

Bird is about to launch a new way to get seriously injured. It is similar to the current means the company provides for riders to get seriously injured, except with the new vehicle, riders can get seriously injured with their friends.

E-scooter rental companies are invading cities across the country, providing residents with more micro-mobility options.

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But the invasions are also drawing concerns over the street clutter, and the spike in scooter-related injuries. Last month the Center for Disease Control concluded a study into the danger of e-scooter rentals, following a spike in emergency room visits from e-scooter-related injuries. The study found that about 14 rides out of every 100,000 lead to injuries—and 45 percent of accidents result in head injuries.

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On Monday, Consumer Reports reported that at least eight people have died riding a rentable e-scooter since the fall of 2017. One death occurred when a 53-year-old man riding without a helmet crashed into a tree in San Diego. Another death occurred when a 5-year-old boy who was riding with his mother, fell off the scooter and was struck by a vehicle in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A 20-year-old in Atlanta and a 26-year-old in Nashville both died riding e-scooters when they were hit by vehicles.

The report points out that Bird and Lime, two of the top e-scooter rental companies encourage riders to wear helmets, and insist that only one person should ride a scooter at a time and riders should be 18 or older.

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Lime told Consumer Reports it is collaborating with the medical professionals and regulators to “to set the standard for micromobility safety.” Bird, on the other hand, told Consumer Reports that cities must modernize the street infrastructure to better ensure scooter safety. It seems Bird believes the onus is on the municipalities to pave the path for the e-scooter revolution. Both companies have been hit with numerous lawsuits related to injuries that riders claim to have incurred. 

A day after Consumer Reports published its report about the e-scooter rental-related deaths, Bird announced it’s launching a new two-seater cruiser.

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Bird plans on debuting the moped in certain markets this summer, but a spokesperson would not share which cities will get the cruiser first. The company is currently testing various charging models and programs, so it is unclear if these scooters will be charged via docks, or by gig workers who pick up the abandoned vehicles left to clutter sidewalks.

Cruiser riders will be able to place their feet on pegs or use the peddle-assist. The vehicles come with a 52V battery that is supposed to last 50 miles for each full charge.

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As with the regular Bird e-scooter, all riders have to perform a safety training through the Bird app before riding, and Bird offers to send free helmets to customers who request one and pay for shipping.

Bird is marketing the cruiser as a way to get around the city with a friend. For short commutes involving two people, the cruiser seems far more efficient than a car. But it will also open twice as many riders to getting seriously fucked up when customers inevitably start wrecking these electric motorcycles.

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