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Seemingly overnight, electric scooters have taken over the sidewalks and streets in many cities. Companies like Lyft, Lime, Bird, and Spin are racing to find solutions to “last mile” commuter challenges.
I live in Santa Monica, California, the headquarters location for Bird and the first city in the US to get access to their scooter rentals. The company has since expanded to 30 cities around the world. These scooters offer a cheap and easy way to get around. Unfortunately, they can also be a huge nuisance to area residents when they speed by you on the sidewalk and nearly cause a collision. Or, when they’re left on private property.
Cities are still struggling to figure out how best to embrace the new scooter technology. For example, Beverly Hills has banned Bird scooters for 6 months, until the city can create regulations for them. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has adopted guidelines for the scooter companies and riders to promote safety.
As a one-car household, I’m a HUGE fan of these electric scooters. I’ve even taken one from my house to the Los Angeles Airport to pick up a rental car (ironic, I know). For $1 plus $0.15 per minute, it’s a super awesome deal to travel around!
I’ll admit though, the number of scooters around Santa Monica (and likely other cities) is definitely part of the problem. Fewer scooters would reduce resident complains to a certain extent. But from my experience, the issue has been visitors who do NOT follow some relatively easy guidelines, like:
- Riding in bike lanes, instead of on the sidewalk
- One rider per scooter, instead of 2 people riding on the same scooter
- Wearing a helmet
- Being 18+ years old
- Making sure the kickstand is secure, instead of laying the scooter down on its side
To me, the rules seem like common sense. But that doesn’t stop folks from recklessly riding in the middle of the street, riding without a helmet, and having multiple people on the same scooter.
So on behalf of the responsible scooter riders and advocates of cheap transportation options, I’m kindly asking travelers to respect the local laws when renting electric scooters.
Do you have electric scooters in your city? I’m interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below!