Bird tests geofencing system to slow scooters in pedestrian-heavy areas

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The next time you rent a Bird scooter, don’t try speeding past a school or any other area with a lot of pedestrians. The company has introduced Community Safety Zones, a feature that uses geofencing to cap the speeds of its scooters in certain areas automatically.

When traveling through a Community Safety Zone, the company’s scooters won’t go faster than 8 miles per hour. You’ll see the zones mapped out in the Bird app, and the software will display a message when you enter one to explain why your vehicle is slowing down.

The company is piloting the feature in Miami, Marseille and Madrid. Over the coming weeks, Bird says it will work with public officials to implement the geofenced zones in all of the more than 250 cities where it operates globally. Initially, the zones will center on schools, though they could also include areas around parks and shopping malls in the future.

Community Safety Zones represent part of an ongoing safety push from Bird. In July, the company introduced Safe Start, which prompts users to type in a keyword when they want to rent a scooter between 10PM and 4AM local time. Bird is using Safe Start to verify whether a potential customer is sober enough to handle one of its vehicles. 

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