In a bid to improve rider safety, Bird is offering free ride credits to users who upload a selfie while wearing a helmet.
All riders have to do to get the credits is to snap a selfie of them wearing a helmet after they've completed their Bird electric scooter ride. These photos are uploaded to the Bird app, which uses computer vision to confirm you are indeed wearing a helmet.
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After this, credits towards free use of Bird scooters lands in the customer's account. They are also encouraged to spread the word about scooter safety by sharing their helmet safety on social media with the hashtag #BirdHelmetSelfie.
Bird says the incentives rewarded for wearing a helmet will start with credits towards future rides, but the suggestion here is that other incentives will be offered at a later date.
As well as encouraging helmet selfies, Bird is also today launching a marketplace devoted to safe scooter riding. Called the Bird Safety Marketplace, this is where users can buy "a selection of curated products such as helmets and safety accessories to better protect themselves."
Computer vision is used to confirm the rider is wearing a helmetBird
The helmet safety initiative is initially rolling out in Washington DC, but if it's a success then we expect to see it appear more widely soon.
The lack of helmets worn by users of Bird, Lime and other scooter hire services is a concern. A May 2019 study conducted by the Public Health and Transportation departments in Austin, Texas found that there were 20 injured users per 100,000 electric scooter rides over a three-month period.
Of these, half sustained head injuries and just one of the 190 injured people recorded by the study was wearing a helmet.