Bird e-bikes join e-scooters on Windsor streets

Bird Canada representative Stephen Hargreaves rides a Bird e-bike along Windsor’s riverfront on Oct. 18, 2021. (Rich Garton/CTV Windsor)

Bird e-scooters have been a big hit in Windsor this summer and fall and they now have company.

Bird Canada launched the e-bike ride share service Sunday during Windsor’s Open Streets Festival.

Windsor is only the second community world-wide to adopt the service, one week after San Diego, Calif.

There are currently 10-20 e-bikes on Windsor’s streets, according to Bird Canada CEO Stewart Lyons. He says when more shipments arrive, Windsor will ultimately boast 100 bikes, to go along with the complement of e-scooters already speckled across the city.

“People have enjoyed it. We’ve gotten great feedback from businesses, from BIAs from the citizens of Windsor and it’s been really well adopted,” says Lyons, adding patrons have taken about 100,000 rides in this region since the e-scooters arrived in May, 2021.

The bikes are electric powered after you reach speeds of roughly 17 km/h.

“If you go in a slow-speed zone, for example the water front trail, it’ll be a bit of a pedal, but you get a nice work out, it’s a bicycle. But as soon as you leave the trail, it’ll kick in and you can go a bit faster,” says Lyons. “Above 17 km/h, the electric motor kicks in and the pedaling becomes quite easy. So I guess it’s like having a special gear on the bike that is very easy to pedal and you get a lot of bang for your buck when you pedal.”

The e-bikes work just like the scooters: download the Bird app on your phone and pay using your credit card. They also follow similar rules, allowing riders to use designated areas. The company also asks that riders not to use the sidewalks, don’t double-ride and always wear helmets.

Windsor city council approved the use of the e-bikes and e-scooters on a one-year pilot, to be revisited before full deployment.

Company officials say the positive buzz, relatively low incidence of accidents and positive impact on greening transportation in the city boast well for council’s endorsement.

“For all those reasons, I’m pretty sure, I’m hoping that the council has gotten that feedback from constituents and I’m pretty sure we’ll be asked to return next year,” says Lyons.

The existing compliment of bikes can be found mostly by the Great Canadian Flag by the Detroit Riverfront and at the University of Windsor’s campus.