Bird, the rapidly expanding dockless electric scooter company, announced two new initiatives this morning seeking to position the company as a safety leader among the current crop of urban mobility startups—and help give its users safe places to ride in cities.
The Los Angeles-based firm announced that it will form a new Global Safety Advisory Board led by David Strickland, former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and more recently, spokesperson for the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, that will “create, advise, and implement global programs, campaigns, and products to improve the safety of those riding Birds and other e-scooters.”
Bird’s statement notes that the board, which will consist of transportation and safety experts as well as government officials and private citizens to be named later, won’t just focus on the safety of those riding scooters, but also pedestrians and bicyclists who share space with these riders.
In addition, Bird will begin steering revenue into a dedicated fund to expand transit infrastructure in the cities where it operates. The initiative would set aside $1 per day from each scooter in operation to help cities build new protected bike lanes, as well as maintain existing ones by repainting and repairing them.
At a time when growing micromobility options are adding numerous new transit options to city streets, this fund could be a godsend to local governments seeking to add much-needed non-automotive safety infrastructure.
“I look forward to working with the Bird team and the cities in which the company operates to make city streets as safe as possible for anyone not in a car,” says Strickland, who, as the head of the NHTSA, launched the nation’s largest connected vehicle safety program and issued the first automated vehicle policy.
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