CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The new scooter company Bird is offering free protective gear to keep its riders safe.

Representatives from Bird gave away helmets to people by Mudhouse on the Downtown Mall on Thursday afternoon. The company requires its riders to wear them.

People who stopped in to get a free helmet say they like the safety that comes with wearing the protective gear.

“There’s a lot of activity, a lot of movement and whether you’re on a bike, a scooter, turning a corner something pops out at you, I guess  better safe than sorry in terms of keeping your head safe,” said Tom Pallante of Crozet.

Bird launched in Charlottesville on Thursday morning, deploying 100 electric scooters. They are the second dockless scooter company to launch in Charlottesville, joining Lime, who debuted in December.

Users of the Bird app can also order their own free helmet through the app. The company requires that riders pay for shipping and handling.