First it was avoiding streetcar rails, now a new safety program has been launched by Bird and AT&T to discourage electric scooter riders from using their smartphones while rolling.
“Smartphone use while driving or scooting is a dangerous mix,” said Rachel Bankston, a Bird spokeswoman.
“We urge everyone, regardless of their transportation mode, to stay alert and keep both hands on the steering wheel or handlebars.”
The new safety program and accompanying video are a continuation of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” program aimed at discouraging car drivers from using their smartphones while behind the wheel.
“We’re expanding our anti-distracted driving message beyond the car,” Ryan Lucky, an assistant vice president at AT&T said in a statement.
“Our goal is to keep you safe not only behind the wheel but also behind the handlebars… Along with Bird, AT&T wants to raise awareness that no text, post or video is worth a life. It Can Wait.”
Bankston said Bird wanted to get in front of the unsafe prospect that smartphones might become a distraction for its riders.
“Working with AT&T’s ‘It Can Wait’ campaign allowed Bird to support the goal of keeping consumers safe and educating them on how to scoot responsibly,” she said.
In his statement, Lucky said smartphone distractions are no longer just a problem in the car.
“Electric scooters and bikes have made getting around more convenient, affordable and environmentally friendly. But they still require focus while operating,” he said.
“More than a third of drivers call distracted driving a habit and these habits are transitioning to a larger category of distracted riding.”
Bankston said Bird promotes rider safety by requiring them to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird.
“We strongly encourage all riders to wear helmets,” she added.
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