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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Coleman

Downtown Riverside Bird's VS City Bikes

Fred and I took a mini vaca over the summer and stayed a few days in Venice beach. The first day trying to get my bearings we walked up and down the boardwalk, wondered aimlessly looking for the canals and got blisters searching for the perfect café on Abbott Kinney. I kept noticing all the cool LA kids breezing around on electric scooters, and seeing them parked at every corner. Curious I went up to one and read the instructions

to download their app and scan your debit card to activate the scooter. Activation costs $1 and then 20 cents a min, when you're done using it you just leave it wherever. After getting the hang of it, I felt this huge burden lifted. We were free to ride to Santa Monica for lunch or Muscle Beach to sight see without having to drive in circles forever looking for a parking space.

One day in September I noticed one of these Bird scooters here at the University Village, I was elated that the LA cool kid scooters arrived here in Riverside. Soon I saw them at the plaza, and Downtown. Interesting around the same time the city came out with their own transportation solution, Bike Riverside-today, giving the public access to 55 electric pedal assist bikes that can be used for short trips in the historic downtown and adjoining areas. Bike Riverside is available in a variety of options, including a $2 single trip (45 minutes), a $6 day pass (unlimited 45-minute trips for 24 hours), or a $20 monthly pass (unlimited 45-minute trips for a month). Users sign up on the website — – or use the mobile app, or pay at a payment kiosk where they pick up the bike.

Bird Pros:

Convenience With the Bird app you can see on a map where the closest bird is to you. So if you’re somewhere and need short transportation there might be a Bird right around the corner from you.

You can leave your bird anywhere when you’re done, no docking stations required.

Bird Cons:

No Storage. I realized when shopping in LA there was nowhere to put my bags when riding like a little basket. Also nowhere to put a water bottle, and believe me you need both your hands to ride these.

Inadequate parking: It’s great that you can leave your scooter anywhere when you’re done, but it may not be that great for everyone else. Often times these scooters can be a blight on a community when they are blocking pedestrian walk ways and parked in someone’s front yard.

Bike Riverside Pros:

Storage: It has a basket!

Tracking your costs: The bikes have a screen that tracks how much you’ve spent on your ride. The Birds track on your phone which drains your battery and is difficult to track when your phone is in your pocket.

Bike Riverside Cons:

Docking Stations: You must pick up and drop off your bikes at a designated docking station located at 7 different spots though out downtown and one near RCC, which makes it difficult to be spontaneous. This is really the biggest drawback as it lacks convenience.

The coolest thing about e-scooters (Birds/Limes) is that you could live downtown, find a bird a block away and take it downtown to go to dinner or to work or a yoga class or anywhere, and take it back home. (Just don’t think you can go late night bar hoping, they shut down at 9pm). Where the e-bikes you still have to get to the docking station and then re-dock it when you're done. Its yet to be seen if we will have a problem with e-scooters polluted all around our neighborhoods as has been a problem in Santa Monica. UCR has banned electric scooters on campus due to safety issues. Riverside is the only city in the Inland Empire with the scooters, according to Bird.

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