Cities around the country are popping up with Bird scooters sitting in every neighborhood. It is transportation in a simple, fun, and easy way to get from one place to another. As a kid, I had a scooter but never dreamt it would become a billion-dollar business. Gas scooters were first seen in 1895 and in early 1915, the Long Island-based Autoped introduced their flagship product, the Autoped. This was a gasoline-powered device but marked the first commercial offering of such smaller-framed transportation devices that resemble the modern-day electric kick scooters. This design was popular in New York by traffic cops at the time. The Autoped was eventually taken over by German manufacturer Krupp in 1919 but only continued production for two years. Fast forward to 2021 where electric scooters are the way to get around basically on a pay-and-borrow system that seems to work well.
Because San Diego is progressive with green energy and is a tourist and beach town, it seems to have people riding them everywhere. It is a great way to move around and leave the car at home. It was because of the COVID-19 pandemic that Brian Bazinet looked at the opportunity to get involved with Bird Scooter. Brian was working as senior vice president of national accounts with Oneida. He was handling national chains with over 200 restaurants from all over the U.S. along with several cruise lines. The pandemic led to taking a big pay cut at work. Brian decided to try out this new adventure and bought 25 scooters to start with to help make up the loss of his earnings. The scooters took off so well he bought 25 more, then 100 and now he is up to 500. Brian has since quit his job and now owns and operates Bird scooters full time, becoming one of only two LGBTQ+ owners in San Diego and the largest operator in San Diego.
One can find his scooters within the entire area from Interstate 5 to 805 and Mission Valley. They cover all the neighborhoods — Hillcrest, North Park, City Heights, Old Town, Mission Valley, and Balboa Park. The company has more than 100 Bird scooters in Balboa Park for a great experience on all the trails and roads throughout the park. They are seeing more and more people using scooters instead of driving their cars, which is good for our local residents and tourists to be able to have a quick way to get from one place to another. Bird scooters can go up to 26 miles on a full charge. The new “Silver Birds” have tons of rider upgrades, air tires and shocks for a smoother ride and more power for hills and longer distances. They are super easy to ride. All you need to do to get started is download the app (Bird Scooters) or just scan the QR code and open it in your browser, it will just take a minute to set up. Once you have downloaded it and attached your credit card, you are ready to ride your Bird scooter. The charge is 38 cents a minute and speeds are up to 19 miles an hour. They are also equipped with head and tail lights for night riding. You do not need a helmet to ride the Bird scooters if you are 18 or older. In fact, Brian did mention to offer those of you who have never ridden a scooter before a coupon for $5 off your first ride. Just use the code: XMZAYA.
The wonderful thing about already having the app on your phone is that it will show you where every Bird scooter is parked in your area. As for where to park them, that depends on what part of town you are in. All around downtown and Sixth Avenue to Third Avenue coming up the hill have “Scooter Corrals.” In those areas, you will find them in a corral and when you are done, try to park them in a corral. If corrals are not present, then park them in a safe place that isn’t blocking a sidewalk or in the road. It’s a little confusing but you will get used to it. Other rules are do not park in bus stops, handicapped areas and 15 feet from a fire hydrant.
As a fleet manager and owner of Bird scooters, it is a lot of work managing the fleet to keep them in top shape and available whenever riders need one. Making sure they are put out in their locations, then every evening the ones that need to be charged will need to be picked up, then they are taken to a warehouse to be recharged, cleaned and repaired if needed. As Brian’s business has grown so large and so fast with 500 Bird scooters, he now has employed 10 full-time employees and has seven trucks to keep the flock ready for you. Any time you see his crew out and about, please say hello, they can also help with setting you up on the app as well as showing you how to ride them. It is extremely easy. If I can ride one, anyone can. In fact, if you can ride a bike, then you can drive a Bird scooter. You will love it once you get going. Please, when you are riding them, pay attention to your surroundings and obey all traffic rules. Safety is a must when you agree to rent a Bird scooter.
If you feel you would like a new drop location of Bird scooters, email Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will let you know if that space would be functional to put one.
As San Diego grows and people get out to enjoy the weather that makes us enjoy living in paradise, more people are going to be jumping on these Bird scooters to get around. It’s nice not having to worry about parking and they’re often easy to find.
Brian is having so much fun, staying remarkably busy and is extremely happy with his newfound opportunity that has taken off so well. He feels great knowing he is providing green energy rides that are not only needed for our community but is also very proud to be able to employ a staff and continue to give back to the community he loves. So, if you see a red H on a Bird scooter body, those are Brian’s Birds! Hopefully soon, I might see you rolling by one day.