Flying Around Memphis: A Bird Scooter Review

Dean tries out the scooters that have popped up around Memphis


By Elvert Barnes Photography

Over the past few months, Bird scooters have been popping up around Memphis. Maybe you haven’t noticed them at all, but they are here to give the people of Memphis a new mode of transportation that is both convenient and environmentally friendly. Bird scooters offer a simple mode of transport from your public transit system to your job, home or wherever you are looking to go within the city. Also, you might just have fun scootering around the sidewalks of Memphis.

When you find a scooter somewhere around Memphis, you can now use the Bird app to scan the QR code that is on the top of the scooter activating it for use. It costs $1 to start, and you get a free ride for the first time using it.

My first time trying out a Bird scooter, I felt kind of out of place standing there for a good five minutes trying to set up the app. Several people walked up to ask if I was done with my scooter, which just shows how popular the scooter actually is.

These scooters have been rolled out to several different cities around the United States, but in late June Bird placed them all around Memphis, after being invited by the Memphis City Council. I can see why Memphis would be eager to invite the company here, to increase mobility around local businesses. It helps people explore parts of Memphis they haven’t been before.

In other cities like Santa Monica in Los Angeles, California, people have reported the scooter as being dangerous to pedestrians on the sidewalk. Memphis, though, is a bit different, and the sidewalks are not packed with people like in other cities. Around Midtown and Downtown Memphis, you can see people riding scooters to their next destination.

Once I figured the app out, I just had to figure out how to ride the scooter. In terms of stability, I didn’t fall over so that’s good, but when I first got on, I was a bit shaky. I could definitely see someone who hasn’t done this before being unstable on the scooter. It might be harder for some people who perhaps struggle more with their balance. I spent a good ten minutes riding the scooter around Overton Square, living my best life. It was really fun, although I didn’t try to cross the street for fear of getting run over.

I completely recommend it to anyone who wants to go ride a scooter, whatever their reason. As a mode of transportation, it is good for the environment and faster than walking. It also can help Memphians as a whole make better use of our current public transit system and help with outreach to all of the parts of Memphis. As Charlie Warzel said on “Scooter Wars,” an episode of Follow This, “It could be a way to rewire our cities and our lives.”