Safety first: Bird said it has partnered with cities to give away nearly 75,000 helmets over the last 18 months but unfortunately, this did not result in increased helmet adoption. A study from Austin Public Health in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only one in 190 injured scooter riders was wearing a helmet.
Electric scooters are a convenient way to get around densely-packed metropolitan areas but they’re not without inherent risks. Lots of riders fail to take the proper safety precautions, leading to thousands of injuries each year that could be mitigated.
Scooter operator Bird is well aware of the issue and is now incentivizing riders to wear a helmet. How so? By bribing them, of course.
Bird will now ask riders to take a selfie at the end of their ride and share it to demonstrate helmet usage. The company will reward safe riders with a future ride credit, we’re told. Riders are also encouraged to share their selfies on social media with the hashtag #BirdHelmetSelfie to promote wider adoption of helmets.
Paul Steely White, director of safety policy and advocacy at Bird, said that while the most effective way to reduce safety incidents is to improve infrastructure, they also want to help improve adoption around helmet usage to reduce injury severity in the event of an accident.
Bird is taking it one step further with the creation of an entire marketplace devoted to selling safe riding gear. No word yet on when this marketplace will go live, however.