May 25, 2022

Collaborative micromobility company Bird is launching a limited pilot project to test a battery-powered wheelchair accessory to make mobility more accessible to people with disabilities.

The new “Adaptive Program” will be part of the Bronx e-scooter pilot project in New York, which There will be an expansion this summer. People in the pilot area can sign up for the program, and if they qualify, someone from the Bird team will meet with them in person to show them the attachments, set them up, and how to use them.

“The installation process, with the help of a bird specialist, takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour,” said a spokesman for gaming-updates. “After the initial setup, the device should turn the wheelchair on and off within a few seconds.”

The adaptive program comes months after Bird expanded its on-demand accessible mobility program to include ScooterAround, which allows people with disabilities to find, reserve and pay for selected accessible vehicles.

Competitor Lime has a similar accessibility program called LimeAble, in which Lime delivers custom vehicles for the disabled or less dependent on standard 24-hour rental scooters, such as tricycles or seatbacks, at home.

The wheelchair mount features a 350-watt motor, a lightweight, removable lithium-ion battery, and separate forward and reverse throttles that Bird says allow the rider to reach speeds of up to 12 miles per hour, Bird said. The company says this attachment helps riders navigate slopes and long-distance city rides more easily.

“The bird adaptation program is already helping me move faster and achieve more,” said Eduardo Hernandez, one of the first participants in the program. “The new pace is great. This makes grocery shopping and other chores a lot easier, and it’s incredibly useful for rock climbing that would otherwise be very tiring. ,

Many wheelchairs are covered by insurance, so it’s not clear if this type of attachment voids a warranty or violates insurance policies, and Byrd did not respond to requests for clarification on this. However, the company notes that Byrd is working with the New York City Department of Transportation, the New York City Hall’s Office of Persons with Disabilities, and local disability advocates in New York to recruit participants.

This service is currently free of charge to Bronx members.

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