A startling photo of abandoned Birds shows the electric-scooter backlash has begun

Facebook/BirdBird scooters.
  • Electric-scooter startups are raising billions of dollars in capital, but the backlash might be beginning.
  • A resident of Santa Monica, California, posted a startling image on Twitter this week comparing scores of abandoned Bird electric scooters to the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Birds.”
  • The startups have run into trouble with officials in several US cities for dumping their wares into new locations without asking first.

Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists may be pouring billions into electric-scooter startups, but companies like Bird, Lime, and Spin are already facing backlash from residents.

This was highlighted by a lighthearted tweet from Madeline Eskind, a product manager at Twitter who this week posted an image of scores of abandoned Bird scooters in the startup’s home city of Santa Monica, California, with the caption: “The 2018 remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds.'”

The plot of “The Birds” revolves around a huge number of birds going berserk and attacking a town and its residents.

Though intended as a joke, the photo highlights issues of electric-scooter oversupply.

The electric-scooter startup model involves dropping hundreds of dockless scooters into a city and then hoping people will use them. Despite the startups’ racking up huge valuations, that approach hasn’t always been successful – or to residents’ taste.

Bird pulled out of Louisville, Kentucky, a day after launching because it put scooters into the city without first asking officials. Similarly, Nashville earlier this year filed a cease-and-desist letter, saying Bird users were abandoning scooters by the footpaths. And San Francisco was forced to issue permits to a handful of scooter companies to clamp down on the increasing numbers of scooters clogging up the city streets.

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