Do Bird scooters and bikes, like their avian counterparts, head south during the winter months?
It’s a question many people understandably have and, thanks to four years serving the sustainable transportation needs of riders in more than 350 cities around the world, it’s one we’re more than happy to answer.
Preparation and Communication
At Bird, it all starts with preparation and communication.
We begin the process of talking to our partner cities early, aligning on everything from mobility needs and service expectations in the winter to the logistics of quickly removing vehicles off the street in case of inclement weather. All of Bird’s partner cities have a dedicated account manager who can be reached seven days per week to answer any questions about our operations and winter preparations.
Concurrently, we also begin prepping our operations teams for winter service well in advance. This means teaching and reviewing best practices detailed in our winter handbook with our global fleet manager partners. It also means determining and communicating supply needs internally to help ensure that warehouses and service centers are well stocked for repairs in case of weather-related supply chain disruptions.
Adjusting Fleet Size to Meet Demand
As daylight hours get shorter and demand for micromobility changes during the colder winter months, Bird uses local input and statistical data to evaluate operating hours and fleet size on a city-by-city basis.
Our main focus is always on safely and responsibly keeping vehicles on the road for as long as possible while ensuring the safest possible operations. Based on our team’s evaluation, each city will then receive one of three winter designations:
- Continued full service
- Partial service hibernation
- Full service hibernation.
Riders in particularly cold or snow-prone markets may see a temporary reduction in the number of available vehicles. These figures can be adjusted in real time based on daily temperatures and ground snow coverage. In other cities, our entire Bird fleet may be required to hibernate for the winter.
When these situations occur, our team will always send out clear communications to riders via email, push notifications and/or in-app messaging to inform them of any service disruptions. Account managers will also engage with cities to answer questions and begin initial discussions for continued full service in the spring.
Promoting and Enabling Safe Riding in Winter
Bird is committed to promoting safe riding in all conditions. It’s why we’ve developed our Bird Three vehicles with the longest footboards currently in the industry (25”), a feature that helps increase rider balance and stability.
In fact, all Bird shared scooters have footboards that measure above 18 inches—a threshold we hope will be implemented by all cities and operators to help improve safety and rider inclusiveness.
Outside of vehicle design, there are simple but meaningful things all riders can do to stay safe while riding during the winter months. Take a look at our list below:
- Stay Warm and Visible: When you’re bundling up for your ride, ensure that you’re wearing bright colors whenever possible and consider wearing a flashing light and/or applying reflective tape to your helmet, backpack or jacket. Shorter days mean less daylight, so make sure you’re easily visible no matter what time you’re riding.
- Never Drink and Ride: If you’re drinking alcohol at any time during the winter holiday season, DO NOT RIDE AN E-SCOOTER. Not only does it put you and others at risk, but it’s against the law and will get you banned from Bird.
- Take it Slow: All vehicles take longer to stop in inclement weather. E-scooters are no exception. Rain, snow and ice can make for slippery and unpredictable road conditions, so ride slowly and give ample space between you and the rider in front of you to ensure you’re in control of your ride at all times.
- Make Yourself Heard: Sound is a great way to let pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and other scooter riders know you’re approaching. Use Bird’s friendly-sounding bell, or your own voice, to ensure that road users are aware of your presence.
- Pay Attention to Parking: Snowy winter weather can mean narrower lanes and reduced sidewalk space for pedestrians. When your ride is over, always ensure that your Bird is parked neatly in an approved parking zone. Never block pavements/sidewalks, access ramps, cycle paths or any other public area.
For more information on safe winter riding and other topics related to Bird’s micro-electric mobility service, subscribe to the Bird Cities Blog.