Bird, a dockless scooter-sharing company, was founded in 2017 in Santa Monica, CA. Since then, Bird has placed more than 1,000 scooters in 22 U.S. cities and the company announced that customers had taken more than 1 million rides in the past year. This past June, Bird announced that it raised more than $400 million in funding and is valued at around $2 billion.
While Bird has seen astounding growth in such a short period of time, they also have faced issues in regard to safety. In September, over 20 scooter accidents, including pedestrian injuries and vehicle collisions, were reported in Indiana alone. While many riders understandably feel unsafe on the street next to cars, pedestrians feel similarly unsafe with Bird riders sharing the sidewalk with them. Bird is weighing their unprecedented growth with the fact that many major cities continue to decide if the public safety concerns will allow for the service to continue. Already, San Francisco, Denver, and parts of Los Angeles, have opted to ban the scooter-sharing service until new city regulations have been passed to ensure the safety of its citizens.
Despite these concerns, Bird has continued its expansion to international markets. Bird already has scooters in Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv, and Vienna, and recently announced that it will soon enter Mexico City and Brazil as well. Latin America could be a major frontier for Bird. Company officials stated that the region has much less regulatory hurdles for scooter companies as opposed to car ride shares, such as Uber. Further, while it does not have specific permission from local government, the company claims to adhere to local regulations and cites that the cities already have other scooter-sharing services available.
While companies like Bird continue to receive major funding and chances for further growth in new regions, they also face increased competition and regulatory issues. These obstacles could prevent Bird from living up to the lofty expectations created by their evaluations. Excitement regarding convenience and low pricing may continue to fuel Bird’s growth, however, a communal waning of interest and an oversaturated U.S. market could prove detrimental to the company’s long-term sustainability. Expansion into international cities and territories may help to boost revenue and growth as the U.S. market becomes more accustomed to the ever-present scooter found parked on the sidewalk.