Electric scooter company Bird will soon launch these weird 2-seater electric bikes

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/06/04/electric-scooter-company-bird.html


an electric bike with a 52-volt battery and LCD screen that seats two riders.

For safety, though, only one person should really sit on the LCD screen at a time.


I dunno if there is an official rule here, but unless there are pedals I’d call that a scooter.

1 Like

Depends on the state. In MA, it’s whether or not it can reach 30 mph. Some scooters that would otherwise be able to reach that speed can get a governor installed that keeps them below 30, and lets them still be a bike, legally.

I know all these companies are among the worst examples of the Uber-bros, who litter cities and ask questions later, but I really think all this low-energy mobility experimentation is great.

Yes, people should walk or ride their own bikes, but if this helps keep cars off the street it’s awesome. (Now we just need some high-quality studies to say which it replaces more, cars or walking.)


Have any of these companies solved the redistribution" problem? That’s the innovation I’m interested in. Although this form-factor is cute.


Personally, I kinda dig this design. I wish there was a small backrack that you could strap a basket to, but the straightforward two person design is perfect for getting around a city. Now the whole bit about them being designed solely for rentals on a monthly contract…


I believe Citi Bike in NYC uses paid vans and an army of volunteer “angels.” The angels are incentivized with recognition (leaderboard), credits, and cash.


You’d think they’d get that people would use these for errands that include shopping for groceries and other such tasks. Or maybe they just assume that their user base is mainly people who don’t actually do those things for themselves, and get all their stuff with apps.

They’re not designed, they’re ‘architected’. Also, who would buy this for themselves? If you want to buy, there’s probably better choices.

My hunch is that bike share, scooters, etc. are mostly drawing people back from Uber and Lyft. (Those trips might have once been made on transit or on foot - Uber and Lyft have replaced more transit trips than private car trips, based on data I’ve seen.)

Personally I use a dock-based bike share system (the operator of which got bought out by Lyft) mostly for trips where I’d otherwise take the bus or walk, because biking is much faster. But I’m a weird person who never uses a car if any viable alternative exists…


How exactly is the design weird? It looks relatively normal, the seat just accommodates two riders :thinking:

1 Like

Why the scare quotes around the word reliably? Hydraulic disc brakes are well tested on bikes and work quite well.

Apparently the pedals are optional, but there if you want to use them. This looks like it slots pretty neatly into the “E-Bike” category, although I suspect many will be used purely as scooters.

I was willing to let it go with the scooters, but if these things have normal levels of E-Bike performance you are really going to want helmets on the riders. People are going to get killed on these.

1 Like

IMHO they should just come with a basket on the front.


Or the copier.

Next they will design the oversized t-shirt cannon to distribute them?

Whether it’s these bikes or scooters I’d really like to see some kind of solution to the lack of helmets. Maybe something like this (or a non-disposable multiple-use version):


And you’ll look sweet / upon the seat / of some e-waste trash built for two.

In all seriousness, though, I’ve heard Bird is no more financially viable than, say, Uber. I have to wonder if this is a stopgap to try and get more customers to stay afloat long enough to try and con some company into doing a massive tech buyout.

If I start seeing these things parked across the sidewalk the way people do with the scooters, or god forbid see someone riding these on the downtown sidewalks like they do with those, I’m going to have a freaking meltdown though.


I agree - nothing weird. Actually cool looking. I’d buy one if it were available for sale.

I look forward to riding some of these scooters. I remember the first time I rented one when I was like 15 and it was a blast. So much so that I later went on to own scooters and motorcycles. But I haven’t had one now for more than a decade, and I really miss it. Being able to have access to one by the hour just for fun will be great.

1 Like

I take it your city doesn’t have Limebikes?

We already have bikes just strewn about. Very sad.

We actually have a dock-based bike system that works very well, the problem is that the dock bikes are set up basically like an invisible subway system, designed to go from dock to dock, with severe financial penalties for using them in a rent-for-the-afternoon kind of way. We have docks like subway stations on “lines” through the downtown of the city, but they aren’t in a grid like they would need to be to be really useful. (ie., we are basically a grid city. If we had a dock on every 2nd or 3rd intersection, it would take a lot more docks but the system would be useful because you’d ride to where you were going, turn in your bike, and walk the block to your destination, then walk a block and get another bike and ride someplace else.)

We also have a non-dock based bike system and it is utter chaos. But - the bikes are where people want them, and they don’t have to walk to the nearest dock to stop their rental.

1 Like

No, no Limebikes here. No Lime scooters even, I don’t think. They were a minority for a while, but it seems to be only Bird now.

I feel like a reasonable solution, at least where I live, would be to map out all the bike racks and let people park their cycles/scooters next to them. They’re all GPS tracked, so it’d be simple to confirm that the thing was parked where it should be. There’s a bike rack about every 20 feet here, so you’d never have to go too far out of your way to park. There’d be no cost to actually build new docks, just a cost involved in locating pre-existing acceptable parking areas and mapping them.

That would involve doing something other than dropping a bunch of scooters on an unsuspecting city and telling them that it’s their problem now, so I know it’ll never happen. But I believe there are ways to make cheap, easily available electronic transit work if a company ever actually cared about that. One of the things that really pisses me off about Bird and Lime is actually that there’s a seed of a good idea there that they’re poisoning with their utter disinterest in taking any responsibility for their product whatsoever.