Users With Disabilities Can Rent an E-Scooter in Long Beach for Free

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Users With Disabilities Can Rent an E-Scooter in Long Beach for Free
Courtesy of Bird

Bird is launching its disability-accessible e-scooter and wheelchair program in Long Beach.

Starting this week, users with disabilities can pull up the app, choose one of four electric vehicles adapted to their needs and get it delivered to their hotel or home—all for free. The service is fully subsidized for the day.

The announcement was part of the electric vehicle-focused 2022 Electrify Expo taking place at the Long Beach Convention Center Friday.


“Bird wants to give back,” said Brian Buccella, VP of public policy at the Santa Monica-based startup.

Buccella spoke with Long Beach Community Outreach Specialist Tony Cruz about the partnership between the city and Bird.

Cruz is a former U.S. Olympian and pro cyclist. In 2009, he became the city’s “bike ambassador,” championing new cycling infrastructure and active transportation. Now, he works with everything from e-scooters to micro-transit.

“And now the running joke at City Hall is ‘Anything with wheels on it, just give it to Tony. He’ll figure it out.’”

Cruz described the city’s adoption of e-scooters as a “baptism by fire.” According to him, one of the biggest issues the city has faced is e-scooters blocking accessibility features like curb ramps.

“Our staff does an annual presentation to our commission for disabilities. And this has been the number one pain point for them: ‘We have sight impaired [people], [we] have disabled [people]. How are you going to fix this for us?’,” he said.

Bird is rolling out the adaptive vehicle program in partnership with Scootaround, a mobility scooter and wheelchair rental company based in San Diego. The program started as a pilot in the Bronx. Currently San Diego and San Francisco also offer the program in California. Long Beach will be the first municipality in L.A. County to take part.

Bird is launching its disability-accessible e-scooter and wheelchair program in Long Beach.Bird is launching its disability-accessible e-scooter and wheelchair program in Long Beach.Image courtesy of Bird

Long Beach launched its micromobility pilot in the Fall of 2018. Almost two years into its permanent shared permit program, the city has four operators: Bird, Lime, Veo and Razor. Unlike the city of L.A., Long Beach has a closed market for companies operating within its borders. The vehicle cap is currently 600 for e-bikes and 1,000 for e-scooters. Operators pay a permit fee of $25,000 per year and $100 per vehicle.

In an effort to clean up city sidewalks, Cruz said Long Beach is also rolling out a “forced parking” program, requiring riders to park at pinned locations in e-scooter and e-bike apps.

Long Beach’s approach follows a national trend of micromobility companies and municipalities partnering to implement new technology and protocol to address cities’ pain points. Last month, Bird and Lime trumpeted their new parking technology that uses Google Street View to verify and enforce correct parking.

With location data accurate “within 10 centimeters,” according to Buccella, companies should be able to do more, including curbing sidewalk riding and maintaining geofencing around restricted areas. (Critics have contended in the past that the amount of data collected by cities and companies, crucial to these programs, could pose a threat to riders’ privacy.)

As Long Beach continues to expand its mobility offerings, Cruz said he wants companies to succeed while also addressing concerns about safety and accessibility.

“Their success is the city's success as well. We're not here to over-regulate, we're here to work together.”

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Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients
Courtesy of Regard

Culver City-based health care startup Regard, which uses AI-driven software to help physicians accurately diagnose patients, has raised $15.3 million in Series A funding.

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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund
Image by Joshua Letona

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Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

How Braid Theory Plans to Build the Blue Economy from the Port of LA
Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

San Pedro-based Braid Theory is one of the growing number of accelerators in the country looking to grow the so-called blue economy, which spans a range of ocean-related industries and is estimated at $2.5 trillion a year.

The accelerator is accepting online applications until July 18, with its second-ever program kicking off in August.

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