Nine Things We Learned Testing the New Bird Scooters in Downtown Cincinnati

Some hot Bird tips –– from us to you.

Aug 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm
click to enlarge Taylor Speed, our CityBeat designer, testing out a Bird scooter - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Taylor Speed, our CityBeat designer, testing out a Bird scooter

If you haven't noticed, this city is covered in Birds. They flew in mysteriously overnight last week, scattered from The Banks to Over-the-Rhine and beyond. If you aren't living downtown (or don't regularly check our website  –– shame on you) you may have missed their arrival, or missed what the hell we're talking about.

Birds are electric scooters brought to us from a California company called Bird Rides. They are relatively cheap to rent/ride and are a hypothetically convenient option for transportation on-the-go. 

If you live downtown, work downtown or visit downtown, you've probably seen people zooming around on them recently on sidewalks and in the street. Earlier this week, our News Editor Nick wrote a primer on how to use them (read this first if you have no idea what a Bird is), so today more of us staffers decided to venture out into the world and experience a Bird for ourselves to gift you with additional lessons we learned on our journeys. 

  1. Don't forget your wallet. This may sound like a no-brainer, yet two-thirds of us somehow forgot ours at the office. You will need to scan your ID in order to ride and your credit/debit card to pay.
  2. Sometimes Birds hide in buildings. Even if you locate them on the app, they may never be found in real life. 
  3. Avoid the streetcar tracks. They are dangerously close to the same width as a Bird tire. According to the rules, you're supposed to ride your Bird on the street, with the flow of traffic, and not on the sidewalk. Stop riding them on the sidewalk.
  4. It may be best not to plan on using one if you're in a hurry. It took us half an hour of walking from our office to the river to actually locate some. We believe our office is in what we call a "Bird Blackout Zone." That or noon might not be the best time to go Bird hunting.
  5. If you see a Bird on the sidewalk and it doesn't show up on your Bird app, it's probably dead. Don't get too excited. People are supposed to pick up the Birds each night to charge them for the next day, but, based on our experience, that might not be happening.
  6. Avoid traveling in a flock. Single Bird hunting is more effective unless you're up for an adventure.
  7. Bring sanny wipes (if you're a germaphobe). Lots of different, sweaty hands have been touching your Birds' handles.
  8. "Helmets are required," according to the info on the scooter. You walk around with your helmet, right? 
  9. Don't use one if you don't want to talk to strangers. Everyone be wanting to talk about Birds. If you approach one, look like you're about to approach one or are on one, expect strangers to ask questions and offer their unsolicited opinions about Birds. 

Overall, it was a fun experience and we will likely use them again, if they happen to be nearby. Just be careful, read the rules and have fun.