Bird e-scooters land on Windsor streets, but not without rules

As part of a one-year pilot project, Bird Canada has officially launched its e-scooter ride-sharing service in an exclusive partnership with the City of Windsor.

The first few days saw more demand than scooters available.

“We had record rides for our launch weekend,” says Alex Petre, the general manager for Bird Canada. “People really loved them and we’re very excited by this.”

Two hundred e-scooters have already been deployed, with another 300 coming in the next few weeks.

Feedback from users has mostly been positive.

“This is the funnest thing I’ve done since COVID began, is go on the Birds,” says Abigail Radlin, who took a spin Tuesday with her friend, Elise Trepanier.

“It’s a very nice day out. It’s nice to be outside and not cooped up inside right now,” Trepanier says.

But riding these comes with quite a few rules and responsibilities, also known as “scooter etiquette.”

For one — don’t ride on the sidewalk. Bird asks users when they initially sign up to stick to the same part of the roads or pathways as a cyclist.

“Please remember to be courteous and watch for traffic as you are still a member of traffic,” says Petre.

Also — there’s no using these scooters in city parks — with the exception being the Windsor Riverfront, where the speed is limited to 15 km/ph. Other zones of the city like roadways allow the e-scooters to travel up to 20 km/ph.

Double riding, where two people use the same unit, is also not permitted.

“While it could be fun to go on a date and cuddle up on a scooter — please don’t do this,” says Petre. “Please take an individual scooter as each scooter is meant for one person only.”

Petre says like any mode of transportation, don’t drink and scoot.

You must be 16 years old to ride and if you’re under 18, helmets are mandatory. Users are encouraged to bring their own as they are not provided at the pick-up point.

When you’re done your cruise, users are asked to park in the “furniture zone” of the sidewalk — away from accessibility ramps, driveways and doors — and out of the public right of way.

“It is weather-resistant and it is meant to stay outside where it has been left by the last rider,” says Petre. “That’s where our team will collect it from, charge it if required, and redeploy it.”

And just because you paid to use it, doesn’t mean it’s yours. Each unit features a GPS tracker and Bird will find them, wherever they are — even if they’re brought indoors.

“We will be coming to your door and knocking on it, either by ourselves, or with a member of the police force to retrieve it, if you have taken it inside,” says Petre.

The scooters are not sanitized between users — so Bird advises users to be COVID-aware and take necessary precautions, like washing hands before and after — and using masks when physical distancing isn’t possible.

Petre stresses that the cleaner the deployment during the pilot period, the better the chances Windsor will see permanent service through Bird Canada.

“Please follow the rules to make sure this is a successful program which stays in Windsor,” Petre says.