The $2,000 lesson about Bird scooters

Those Bird scooters that are appearing in cities across America — to the consternation of city officials in St. Paul — are too inviting for news-types to avoid. They’re always looking for something that could lead to some content to slap on the internet.

So Earl Wilkinson at the Dallas Morning News took a ride on one the other night and ended up using Uber, because he had to get to the hospital emergency room.

He found that the scooters aren’t very adaptable to the different surface environments you find when trying to get around the city.

“I was bleeding profusely from my nose, lip, mouth and chin,” he said as he took inventory of his parts after trying to transition from a street to a sidewalk. “I couldn’t feel my face. My two front teeth were mostly missing. I had abrasions on my hands and arm. My right elbow wasn’t functioning properly. Everything was swelling. Nausea overwhelmed me.”

He got a $2,000 hospital bill and more are likely coming.

For his effort he got some material for a column and some advice for you, the company that rents the scooters, and the cities that may or may not welcome them:

1. Somehow, it needs to be more clear that scooters are designed for the street under all circumstances. Seems like friendly warnings from police and neighborhood cops could help. Perhaps the city could provide fun signs for businesses that use the sidewalks — keep it entertaining, not preachy.

2. There should be a loud warning about shifting terrains in scooter materials. When shifting terrains, stop and pick up the scooter or at least slow it down to a crawl. That includes train tracks.

3. There may be a need for caution regarding turns. Seems like that is where instability has higher potential, and unpredictability can be around any corner.

4. Bird is doing what any company would do: coverings its legal bases in disclosure agreements and labeling things in the app and scooter without sounding too scary. But the city of Dallas should work with Bird to lay out the “do’s” and “don’ts” for safety.

Overall, he’s a fan of the scooters. He think they can add to the transportation mix in urban areas.

He’s just not going to ride one again.