Scooter sharing companies have tried numerous ways of promoting helmet use, but Bird is trying a particularly direct method — good, old-fashioned rewards. The service has introduced a "Helmet Selfie" feature that offers perks in return for snapping a photo of yourself wearing a helmet at the end of your trip. Computer vision automatically detects the helmet to keep riders honest. The full range of rewards isn't available, but ride credits are part of them. You may get to ride more often simply by protecting your cranium, then.
The company is encouraging cities to implement Helmet Selfie by getting in touch.
Accordingly, Bird will help you find the helmet you need. It's launching a global Safety Marketplace that will offer a "curated" mix of helmets and other safety gear. If you're not sure what equipment to get or just don't want to traipse across town to get it, this could make your shopping considerably easier.
There's a pragmatic reason for Bird to do this, of course. Local governments' attention to scooter regulation remains high, and that's exacerbated whenever there's a glitch or other safety flaw that puts riders at risk. Whatever Bird spends on ride credits and other treats may pay dividends if it keeps the company out of trouble. However, it's still beneficial — it might be worthwhile if it gets even a few people to carry a helmet with them on future rides.
Reporting by Jon Fingas for Engadget.