Bird's skid detection helps catch reckless scooter riders

It could lead to bans for some users.

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A man walks past a Bird scooter on a Los Angeles sidewalk on March 19, 2020. - Electric scooter companies Bird and Lime have suspended services across North America for an indefinite period amid the coronavirus epidemic and a drop in user numbers. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Don’t even think of using a Bird rental scooter for a wild ride. The company has revealed a Skid Detection feature that, as the name implies, watches for moments when an e-scooter goes sideways. If there’s a pattern of skidding Bird can attribute to excessive brake use and other irresponsible riding, it’ll send warning messages and even ban some users from rentals.

Skids due to simple tire wear will prompt an inspection, Bird said.

The alerts promise to boost safety for both riders and neighborhoods. It’ll increase the chances your next ride has healthy brakes and tires, and should discourage joyriders who might hurt others.

The company isn’t alone in detecting scooter abuse. Lime uses accelerometer and speed info tell when you’re riding on the sidewalk, for instance. Unlike its rival, though, Bird is using Skid Detection for enforcement. That might not sit well if you dislike the thought of a scooter service judging your rides, even though there isn’t someone constantly watching your performance. However, Bird is clearly betting that more customers will feel at ease knowing that fewer rogue riders are on the streets.

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