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Campaign launched to give scooters to Detroit kids

Project Free Bird has launched

Photo by Robin Runyan

We see scooters everywhere in Detroit, and many have opinions on them. But what do kids in Detroit think about seeing adults zooming around on them? While out trying to locate hard-to-find Birds, Detroit Bus Company owner Andy Didorosi realized that kids around the Motor City want to play, too.

Now, a campaign has been set up to buy scooters and helmets for Detroit kids.

Didorosi signed up to be a charger for Bird, picking up dead scooters, charging them overnight, and placing them back on the street in the morning. He chose to look for Birds that had been missing from the network for a few days, and were harder to find. One evening, the search took him to a housing complex outside of downtown, where many Detroit youth were playing with the scooters. They asked him about the scooters, and gave them back, but the experience sparked a long Facebook post, and now a campaign.

Didorosi writes:

It struck me that it must really suck to be a Detroit kid in the summertime and see these cool looking scooters with the lights sitting out on the street corner but you’re technically not allowed to touch them unless you have a credit card and a valid drivers license. To watch well-to-do people roll up, scan it with their app and ride away joyfully is probably pretty hard. It’s one of those things you don’t think about when you’re trying out the newest startup and it’s all fun, but there’s plenty of people out there - Detroit’s youth especially - who don’t get to take part in this “big cool future.”

The campaign offers three ways to help: ordering direct from an Amazon wish list, donating scooters or helmets, or donating cash. There’s been some debate over whether to give electric or push scooters; Didorosi wants the kids to have the same experience as Bird scooters, but many say push scooters are safer for the youth.

Sure, the scooters are meant as a solution for that last part of transit. But they again bring up the question, ‘Who gets to benefit from Detroit’s comeback?’

We’ve reached out to Bird on the campaign, and will update when we receive comment from the company.

More details on the campaign at Project Free Bird.