As students returned to MSU’s campus this August they were relaxed, unsuspecting. Everything seemed like it was adding up to yet another typical semester. Then the news started coming in. Cities across the United States were overrun. Whole areas of the country were coated in them. Then they hit close to home. Detroit. Ann Arbor. The streets were so full of them pedestrians had to run for cover. Finally, they were on our doorstep. Spartans watched, breath catching in their throats, as the first few made their way down the Red Cedar River Trail. There was no going back. Everything would be different now. The Birds had arrived.
I approached the Bird cautiously, phone in hand. I was unsure, uneasy. I had never been this close to one before. As I approached, my phone alerted it to my presence and the thing made a loud, two-tone chirping noise. I froze, but the Bird didn’t make any other moves. I closed the final inches slowly, holding out my phone so it would know I meant no harm — I just needed to get to Chem 101. It seemed to accept me, and I closed the distance, holding my phone camera over the QR code and snapping a picture. One second. Two. Success! The Bird was mine. I put up the kickstand, hopped on, and kicked off hard. Pushing the throttle down, I flew past my fellow classmates. The wind whipped past as the Bird flew me to class, and I arrived with a minute to spare. I could get used to this.
Bird is a steadily growing personal transportation company. Their vehicle of choice is the electric scooter, and they are now established in over 55 cities across the U.S. They offer users a relatively cheap option, one-dollar to start and twenty-cents a minute afterward, for getting from one place to another quickly. Despite their wild success and growth, they have their share of controversy. Some cities are beginning to ban or impound Bird scooters because of users’ abuse of sidewalk and parking laws. The scooters also have a max weight limit of 200 pounds, a fact that is conveniently buried in Bird’s rental agreement and leaves the heavier side of the population unable to partake in the transportation revolution.
Logan Ryan is a senior English major studying creative and professional writing. He enjoys spending time with his fiancée, playing video games, and cold weather. He can usually be found at his desk doing anything but writing, on his bike, or on a hike. Follow him @roganlyan on Twitter.