Bird plans launch of shared e-bikes and e-scooters in Ireland

25 Jun 2021

Image: Bird

Bird is getting into the shared e-bike business and sees Ireland as one of its ‘priority launch markets’.

Micromobility player Bird is adding shared e-bikes to its shared e-scooter business, and plans to launch both in Ireland later this year.

The US company currently operates e-scooters in more than 250 cities globally and said earlier in the year that it would invest considerable funds into the European e-scooter market.

Now, it also plans to bring shared e-bikes and an accompanying smart platform to select locations this year, including cities across Ireland.

“Shared e-scooters catapulted shared micromobility to the centre stage of eco-friendly transportation in cities,” said Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird.

“We are launching our shared Bird Bike and Smart Bikeshare platform to meet fast-growing demand from cities and riders for more sustainable transportation options, while expanding our serviceable addressable market by 5bn trips per year.”

Bird revealed its intention earlier this year to launch its e-scooters in Ireland once legislation allows. While e-scooters are currently illegal on Irish roads, the Government is in the process of legislating regulations.

The legislation will also introduce new regulations for e-bikes, but other e-bike sharing companies are already operating in Dublin.

The bike

The new Bird Bike will be equipped with an electric motor, a front basket and large pneumatic tires. It will also include geolocation and geospeed technology and a self-automating onboard diagnostic system.

The bike is designed to complement or be integrated into existing transportation networks, and Bird has stated its intention to partner with transit apps for comprehensive trip planning.

Bird Bike is currently planned for locations in North America, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland and France this year. Riders will be able to access bikes via the Bird app’s ‘scan and ride’ feature, with QR codes on each e-bike.

“Ireland will be one of our priority launch markets,” said Charlotte Bailey, general manager for UK and Ireland at Bird.

“We know how important multimodality will be to councils and, with this announcement, consumers in their area will have the choice of Bird’s electric scooters, the Bird electric bike and even bikes from the existing operators in their locality, all on the one platform.”

Current legislation

Bird said it is eagerly anticipating the passing of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which will legislate for the use of e-scooters on Irish roads and pave the way for e-scooter sharing companies to launch operations.

Dublin City Council is currently collecting feedback from e-scooter companies via a Prior Information Notice. Bird is drafting information to submit to this notice, which aims to to prepare the city for the intended legislation.

Up until 13 July, companies can provide technical expertise on logistical issues such as safety features, sustainability and emissions, and the required operator experience. The question of docking stations is also a matter of debate, with different groups arguing for and against fixed stations for the vehicles.

Despite these barriers, several e-scooter companies are already priming for launch once legislation is introduced, including Zeus, Zipp, Dott and Bleeper.

Sam Cox was a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news