MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bird scooters can be fun and convenient but also have a dangerous side, according to one man who said his ride put him in the hospital.
George Bryant says he'd been looking to try out Bird scooters with his friends. They planned to spend Sunday in downtown Memphis.
"We were going to ride through the Mid-America Mall, and then maybe try to go over the new bridge and get a view of downtown," he said.
But soon enough, the trip took a dangerous turn when his Bird "flew" over a small bump in a bike lane.
Bryant had a crash landing.
"I think the rear end flipped over behind me, and I tumbled over the top. I'm biting dust. They had to pull gravel out of my lip," he said. "I split my front [lip]. I got stitches inside my mouth, because my teeth ran through."
Bird scooters have only been in Memphis since Mid-June, but they've already left a mark in other cities.
A quick Google search reveals stories about serious injuries from Los Angeles to Cincinnati.
Nashville even banned them while officials worked out new safety rules.
"They can go pretty fast. If you're not paying attention you can hit the train tracks or go over a pothole. You definitely have to be careful. They advise you to wear a helmet. I don't," rider Matthew Huff said.
Bryant wasn't wearing one either, even though the app suggests them.
In a statement to WREG, Bird says they give out free helmets and make safety a top priority.
But it doesn't seem like that's reaching riders.
"Until you experience it, you don't realize how dangerous it can be," Bryant said. "When I went to the ER they said, 'You are the fourth person today to be in her, because of the Bird Scooter accidents."
Others we spoke with are still flocking to them for value and convenience.
"It's a great way to bring people downtown, because they're not worried about traffic and parking," rider Chase Wyatt said. "It's faster and better than walking in the heat for sure."
But Bryant says he's lucky he didn't break a bone and he won't be "flying" any time soon.
Bird issued a statement to us saying they have rules restricting maximum speed and requiring riders to upload a license to prove they're 18 or older.
Here's Bird's full statement:
“Safety is a top priority for Bird, and we are committed to partnering with all cities to ensure that the community, and its visitors, safely embrace our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option. We strive to improve and enhance the well-being of our riders and communities through concrete action, including: restricting the maximum speed of the vehicles, requiring riders to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird. Bird was also the first in the industry to offer free helmets to its riders. To date, Bird has distributed more than 40,000 free helmets to riders. Additionally, Bird recently formed the Global Safety Advisory Board, which will create, advise, and implement global programs, campaigns, and products to improve the safety of those riding Birds and other e-scooters.
We strongly recommend reporting any incidents that Bird scooters are involved in, as we have a support team dedicated to safety that is available around the clock to address questions and reports we receive. We provide a number of ways for people to reach us including by email (Hello@bird.co), our in-app messaging feature, and by phone. We strive to respond to all inquiries in a timely fashion and are continually striving for an immediate response time.”