Many big cities are full of electric scooters that anyone can rent and use to get around without a car. These scooters make it easy to get to your destination quickly, but they’ve proven controversial. Many have complained about reckless scooter use, which is where Bird’s latest geofencing test comes in.
Bird is one of the companies that make electric scooters available in cities, and now it is working to make sure those scooters are used safely around other people. The company has announced a new test involving a feature called Community Safety Zones, which are essentially geofenced regions where the scooters will have a capped maximum speed of only 8MPH.
Though the maximum speed in these locations may seem slow, it is still faster than walking and you won’t end up sweaty and tired when you arrive at your destination. Even better, the reduced speeds will help avoid an unfortunate collision with pedestrians.
The geofenced safety zones are regions with heavy pedestrian traffic; Bird says it is focusing on schools initially. When a scooter enters one of these geofenced locations, the micromobility vehicle will automatically slow down until it is at the maximum allowed speed. Users will get an alert from the service’s app explaining why the scooter slowed down.
Bird notes that its mobile app service map will clearly show where these reduced speed zones are located so that users can plan to avoid them if the slower speed will have a negative impact on their arrival time. The company is piloting this feature in Madrid, Miami, and Marseille with plans to expand it to other cities in the future.