E-scooter startup Bird Rides Inc has lost its UK and Ireland boss, Richard Corbett, who left the company after two years at the helm.
Since launching in London in 2018, the venture capital-backed startup has struggled to deploy its scooter-rental business as a result of tight regulation, which Corbett
says was made impossible to overcome while lawmakers focussed on Brexit.
“It’s not for a lack of government wanting to change the law, but the political climate,” Corbett said in an interview. “There’s nothing more I think I can do personally to make things move quicker.”
A spokesman for Bird in the UK declined to comment.
Valued at $2.5 billion, Bird is one of the world’s largest micromobility startups. But like all of its rivals, including Lime, it’s never been able to roll out a widespread scooter service in Britain due to local laws that effectively ban the vehicles from roads. Scooters are classed as motor vehicles, or “powered transporters” — subject to tax, driver licenses and insurance — and the UK’s Highways Act of 1835 stipulates that footpaths must be for the sole use of pedestrians.
Despite being banned in the UK, the startup still has a small office based in London. The company launched a version of its product in the city in 2018, but only on private land.
The Financial Times reported that Bird was in talks to buy its European rival Circ. The paper added that under terms discussed, the American startup could merge its operations on the continent with those of Berlin-based Circ.