Cities Across the Nation Are Making Commutes Harder With Increased Scooter Regulations

Free the scooters!


E-scooters are an inexpensive, environmentally friendly transportation option, and they've gotten increasingly popular: According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, Americans made 38.5 million trips on the shared scooters in 2018. Naturally, city and state officials have been rushing to regulate them. They cite safety and traffic concerns, but at times they seem more interested in raking in fees and making a the market less competitive.

In Nashville, where a scooter rider was recently killed by a car, the city's pilot program currently allows seven scooter companies to operate, but a bill that passed Tuesday night will reduce that number to three. The regulations also limit when and where the scooters can be used, and they would impose several mandates on the companies, including a requirement that they pay up to $10,000 to the local government so it can erect signs throughout the city. Among other things, the signs will tell riders that they cannot use scooters on sidewalks—thus making it more likely that a scooter user will be hit by a car.

This week the Indianapolis City Council passed an ordinance making it illegal to ride scooters on city sidewalks; anyone in violation will face a $20 fine. San Antonio has also forced scooters off the sidewalk and into the street; it is also reducing the number of companies allowed to operate scooters in the city from seven to three. This past March, Utah passed legislation making scooters subject to the same rules as bicycles. 

Also in March, a Los Angeles city councilmember called for exempting his district from a one-year pilot program taking place in LA. The pilot program allows a limited number of companies to operate in the city, with strict caps on the number of vehicles and other detailed regulations, but Gil Cedillo wants them banned altogether from the area he represents.

Some of this may be spring from sincere safety concerns; some may be crony-style favoritism; some, in the words of geographer Jason Henderson, may be "a political backlash against what is perceived to be, rightly or wrongly, a very arrogant gilded age-style approach toward public space by tech companies." But it adds up to the same results: Rather than letting competition take place, officials are clamping down on a useful and innovative form of transportation.

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  1. No Fuck the scooters. Riding an electric scooter on a sidewalk is dangerous as hell to pedestrians. Riding one on the street holds up traffic and is dangerous as hell to the person riding them.

    This is the dumbest invention ever. I don't really care if hipster morons want to get run over riding these things, but I do care about the pedestrians they are going to hit on sidewalks.

    There really isn't any urban hipster bullshit reason doesn't love.

    1. I dunno. Maybe the scooters will keep those damn kids from skateboarding on the sidewalks. Those damned hooligans are oblivious to everything because they've got their fool walkmans stuck in their ears so that they can't even listen to their elders and then they sing along to their hip hop with the cuss words in front of children even on Sunday mornings when they should be in church would it kill them to wear a belt and hide their arm tattoos in my day we walked single-file on the right side of the path never more than 3 mph I tell ya what...

      1. H. Farnham....Nothing will keep those damn kids from riding their skateboards on the sidewalks....or the railings...or the parking lots...

        The Skateboarders DO....."Keep Off The Grass"

    2. Is it any different than a bicycle though?

      1. They are slower and blend into traffic much worse. And bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks either. Why should these things.

        1. So hard not to clothesline them when one is coming by me on a sidewalk. So hard to resist the temptations.........

        2. Bicycles are allowed on sidewalks in the state of Michigan. Here in Ann Arbor, they're banned on sidewalks in the crowded downtown area, but not elsewhere. Which makes sense because sidewalks and bike paths are not necessarily easily distinguishable. And we seem to have accommodated college kids on scooters on the sidewalk without carnage. This city did clamp down with regulations to get a cut of the proceeds, though, so there's no longer any competition here, just a city contract with a single company.

      2. No a scooter really is the same as a bicycle - or a mobility scooter for the elderly. Too fast for peds - and way too small/vulnerable to compete with cars (esp since cars are getting really big now).

        The lesson should be that public roads need to be reconfigured for a third form of mobility. But car drivers aren't interested in that. And insist on ensuring that large amounts of public mobility space is set aside for parking too. And bike advocates are really stuck on stupid with their emphasis on trying to compete with cars for the longer-distance 'commute' (via bike lanes on existing arterials rather than separating the travel modes entirely).

        1. One of the problems is the old rectangular grid system. It increases place-to-place route options - but it predates the car. And cars push everything else out. So it means that only cars can really go from place to place. Everything else has to stop every block and essentially negotiate permission to cross every street. Even 'right turn on red' turned out to just eliminate drivers stopping at the crossing or even looking right before they turn. Instead they just look left for traffic and view every intersection as a mere yield/yellow.

        2. Why should car drivers be interested in something that is going to slow them down? They are the one's paying for the roads via gas tax money. The scooter riders aren't paying for them.

        3. bike advocates are really stuck on stupid with their emphasis on trying to compete with cars for the longer-distance ‘commute’ (via bike lanes on existing arterials rather than separating the travel modes entirely

          you obviously do NOT ride a bike any distance or at any speed above a slow trot.

          I do ride, long distance and fast. Bike lanes IN the travelled roadway ARE the safest and most efficient. Build the roads to includ the three or foor foot wide lane. And TICKET the clowns that ride against traffic in them!!!!
          WHY are the lanes better than the separate paths? Because when the right lane is reserved for bikes, we flow with traffic, and the traffic control devices. Put the bike lanes elswehere, the we have to come to complete stop, wait for the cross traffic that does not/does not wanto see us and yield... the start stop, hugelyb increased risk of a car collision makes that method unacceptable. Fine for little kids, and slowpokes, and Mommies wiht strollers. But when that traffic runs at 2 to 4 mph, and WE move at 20+ mph, that is a BAD combination. It also puts us at far higher risk of being tagged by the cars that refuse to stop so we can cross, when we'd rather be in the lane, flowing with the cars, and using the same traffic control devices as the cars. Right turns by the cars can be well managed, and safe.

          And the scooters? They're slower than a decent bike rider, but not by much. Keep them where the bikes are, not where people are walking. I HATE encuontering those infernal things when I'm walking on the sidewalk. So do every other pedestrian I've ever seen.

          1. Bike lanes IN the travelled roadway ARE the safest and most efficient.

            That's transparent crap. The safest mode for a bike doesn't require wearing a freaking helmet. The strict legality is not the issue. It is stupid as fuck to ride in traffic at traffic speeds next to cars without a helmet and everyone knows it. Even more significant, the mere appearance of everyone on a bike wearing a helmet and special clothes on expensive bikes made for racing hunched over to eliminate their visibility of others probably turns off 30 potential bike riders for every one who says 'oh that's neat. Maybe I can ride a bike in traffic too'. It reduces the perceived safety. Which is a BIG reason why kids no longer bike to school and have to be transported everywhere and why the elderly still drive huge vehicles even if they no longer commute.

            As I said - American biking advocates have done MASSIVE harm to actual biking for utility reasons. It's been the case since forever. Biking here was always sold as 'fitness' not 'transportation'. Once they failed with transport, the faddishness of 'fitness' moved on to other things - and bikes were left with only the children's market. Which is also now gone. The dumbest marketing management in US history.

            And the reason you're opposing paths rather than lanes is precisely because in the US - and only in the US - are paths designed to be subordinate to cars where they less frequently intersect. That's a fault of traffic design - not some inherent value of going at car speed. Yeesh.

      3. Yes

        People have to learn to ride a bike, not by downloading an app 30 seconds before heading out.
        People are taught, usually as impressionable children, while learning to ride to follow basic traffic safety laws
        People have to be sober enough to stay upright on a bike before beginning their bike journey.

        People do not abandon their bikes in the middle of the street, even the rental bikes have to be returned to a station.

        1. You can get a bike in 30 seconds with an app too, no learning required. And if you think bicyclers know how to follow basic traffic safety laws you've never been to a major city. You also have to be fairly sober to stay upright on a scooter (or in general)

          So really your only problem seems to be the few bad eggs to leave their scooters in the street, so lets criminalize that rather than banning scooters entirely

          1. No, you can't learn to ride a bike via app. It takes training wheels and dad tricking you when he lets go and a few falls and hurt knees along the way.

          2. The riders leave the scooters all over the place - including right in the middle of sidewalks where people have to walk around them - or trip over them.

    3. Obviously you don't speak for everyone so what right do you, or any politician, have to impose your will on the acceptable means of private transportation?

      1. Because running over someone on a side walk is not a violation of the NAP or anything. Not if you are a hipster riding a scooter anyway. It is your right or something.

        1. You are wrongly equivocating riding a scooter and necessarily hitting someone. An argument we see countless times advocating for gun control. Wouldn't it be better for responsible adults to make decisions about the risks in their private lives themselves? I will grant you, however, that it is a remarkably silly looking way to get around.

          1. Come spend a few nights here, then STFU

            1. What city? Nashville and Indy sound cool but even I, a Canadian, would feel bad for you if you say LA.

          2. Scooters aren't part of the Bill of Rights.

            1. Yeah and someone could get killed. Reason enough to ban them.

    4. re: dangerous to pedestrians

      I call bullshit. They are no more dangerous than a jogger, skateboarder, roller-blader, mother pushing a cart or kid on a bicycle. Note: I am not saying they are risk-free. I am criticizing your assessment of the risk in comparison to other forms of transportation that we know and routinely accept on the sidewalks.

      I am also not saying that everyone riding an electric scooter is polite, courteous or safe in their operation. But the way to fix that is to sanction the offenders, not to pass blanket bans that affect good and bad users alike.

      If someone is behaving like a jerk, call them a jerk. Write them a ticket if they are actually doing something unsafe. But if you think everyone is a jerk for just wanting one, then the problem is on your end.

      1. There a lot more scooter riders on any given downtown street than there are skateboarders, roller-bladers, etc.

      2. "They are no more dangerous than a jogger, skateboarder, roller-blader, mother pushing a cart or kid on a bicycle."

        The ones in my city (Lime) are capable of exceeding 20 mph. The shit you mentioned can't do that in any realistic fashion.

        1. I beg to disagree. Bicyclists, skateboarders and roller-bladers easily and routinely get over 20 mph.

          But if you think they're going too fast, SOLVE THAT. Don't pass blanket bans that hurt the good along with the bad.

    5. And this is why libertarianism always fails. The moment something comes along that upsets the status quo,....REGULATE IT!!!

    1. that the mayor formally announced his plan to remove scooters from the city. Brady Gaulke, 26, was struck by a vehicle and killed while riding a scooter in May.

      Oh shit, Millennials LITERALLY hardest hit.

  2. >>>but at times they seem more interested in raking in fees

    at times? you are new to this? also, just walk ... easier on the wrists.

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  4. Does anyone else find it funny that city leaders keep screaming for alternative transportation options, then literally can't shut them down fast enough when they show up?

    1. These things aren't a serious transportation option.

      1. They are an option for travel that's less than a mile or two. According to NHTS

        5% of car trips are less than 0.5 miles
        16% are .5 to 1.5 miles
        14% are 1.5 to 2.5 miles
        10% are 2.5 to 3.5 miles
        8% are 3.5 to 4.5 miles
        6% are 4.5 to 5.5 miles
        17% are 6 to 10 miles
        8% are 11 to 15 miles
        5% are 16 to 20 miles
        10% are more than 20 miles

        Those last four account for a ton of total miles - but not 'most of the traffic on the roads'. But everything about our current system is designed to slow down and break up the SHORTER trips and make them take more time - where there really are a lot of other potential options - unless you are doing it by car. So we clog up the roads with cars and cars then drive everything else off the roads.

        Bikes and public transport are the real transport options for those shorter trips. But once you solve for 'shorter trips', scooters are also viable.

        1. Think of it this way. For a 3 mile trip, it is serious overkill to use an option that can go 120 mph (or even 55 mph). 20 mph is fine since that's less than the 10 minutes that becomes a mental barrier for people.

          BUT - if that slower option is also forced to spend 2-3 times longer waiting at lights or 5-10 times longer crossing intersections and is forced to stop/start all the time and always yield to the bigger faster monster, then you're dropping its effective speed way down. Forcing people into cars.

          1. I have been repeatedly told by several people here that the only way to "force" people to do anything is via the state kicking down doors to raid people's homes. If you are not under threat of a para-military style raid from the state, than your actions are voluntary 100% of the time, no exceptions. Refer to the NAP, I'm not adjusting my position ever, no matter how practical your argument is or how many examples you can show me that disprove my ideological viewpoint.

          2. So, you seem to be all for scooters breezing thru stop signs and intersections without even slowing, or zipping between slower cars in heavy traffic.

            That will work out so well for the scooter riders

            1. I hate that stand-up scooter. They are purely a VC-led abomination that has nothing to do solving a transportation problem but are exclusively about making younger people comfortable with the notion that they will have a crappy life. That's entirely what the 'sharing economy' is about. There's nothing positive about it at all.

          3. There is no given stretch of road where everyone intends to "only" go a 3 mile trip. The roads were built for cars in the first place and car drivers are the one's paying for them via gas taxes.
            It is silly to think that any given road will be (or should ) be optimized for short trip transportation. That would only slow everyone down who is simply driving through on the way to somewhere else.

            1. Roads were around centuries before cars. Even the move to 'pave roads' did not originate with cars - but with bikes in the 1890's. Course car mfrs realized the big boondoggle of having govt pay for paving roads - so they could sell cars - which in turn could then increase speeds and drive everything else off the roads.

              And you're looking at the transportation redesign from the wrong side. It is the LONGER drive that uses quite predictable routes even within cities. Job commuting is the major purpose and arterial roads (and limited-access highways) are the means. Virtually everything else is even currently 'short run' - but with no way of preventing rat run commuters from spilling over and cutting thru everywhere to avoid lights/traffic - and no way for those short-run areas (let's call them neighborhoods) to connect across the arterials without the current mode of lights and intersections which are designed against them.

              So the 'neighborhood street system' can now only do the ultra-ultra short trip (much less than half mile - which is where 'walking' is competitive with cars) rather than connecting those neighborhoods for the slightly longer trips of up to say 3-5 miles. So those streets remain both empty most of the time AND unsafe to use for alternatives to cars AND encourages one-use zoning so that even 'errands' force a larger distance than makes sense cuz retail/service can't survive with just a single neighborhood as its market.

              1. "Roads were around centuries before cars. "
                The majority of the existing ones WERE built for cars.

                1. The roads across the Roman Empire were built to accommodate two-way traffic, including a cart or chariot travelling each way.
                  The Roman Chariot would accommodate 2-3 soldiers, and had a wheelbase built the width of two horses asses.

                  The roads in Roman Britain were built this way, and when the Romans left, roadbuilding remained the same. As Britons advanced, they standardized their cartmaking and wheelmaking, so that everyone did not have a custom cart, and if you lost your wheel in the next village over delivering your grain or geese, the cooper there had a wheel for your cart. And primarily because the older roads had well defined ruts, and wheels too wide or too narrowly spaced would wear out or break. So all the new roads were built to accommodate cart traffic, the width of two horse's asses.

                  When the Industrial revolution came, and the steam locomotive was invented, the existing tooling and fixtures for carts and carriages was used to make the wheelbase for the railroads, since railroads needed to decide on a uniform gauge. Now the English railroads were built on a wheelbases based on the width of two horses asses.

                  And when they built railroads in America? They did it based on English measurements using English equipment and the= first to do so were English engineers. So, American railroads are based on the width of two horses asses.

                  Fast forward to the 1980s. After the Challenger disaster (the O-Ring fiasco), it was decided to replace the liquid fuel with solid-fueled rockets. The contract went to Thiokol, who had manufacturing in Utah. But to get the rockets to NASA in the East, they had to be shipped by rail, thru the Rockies.

                  So now the Space Shuttle design was governed by Roman Chariots, the width of two horse's asses.

                2. Only post-WW2 suburbs were built around the car. Every street grid type system long predates the car - and the car-at-high-velocity destroys it too because it eliminates people from the street and car-at-velocity also reduces commercial/retail development (which needs people to stop to come inside).

                  Most post-WW2 development is based on a street hierarchy system - with cul-de-sacs or other non-thru streets for residential - limited access for each 'neighborhood' from there to collectors (where the commercial/industrial zones are) - and then limited access from collectors to highways/arterials. All of which also induces large stretches of single-type zoning making the system even more dependent on the car.

                  Which is fine for cars - but for suburbs to destroy the EXISTING street system of cities (most of which are grid or pre-grid) into oblivion in order to reinforce the street/zoning design that works in suburbs is simply a violation of NAP.

                  The solution for cities based on grid system is actually relatively easy. But step one is for every city with a street-grid system to fire everyone in its 'road/traffic engineering dept' who lives in the suburbs. Because every one of them is dependent on the car themselves - and oblivious to the impact of the car-at-velocity on life in a grid-based city. So the 'simple solution' is incomprehensible to them.

              2. "Course car mfrs realized the big boondoggle of having govt pay for paving roads – so they could sell cars – which in turn could then increase speeds and drive everything else off the roads."

                You continue to try and peddle the notion that the demand for cars and paved roads did not originate from demand from the public which is patently false.

          4. Those stats tell nothing about the purpose of short car trips. Are they all just one person going from A to B or are they hauling kids to school or somewhere else? That's not suited to scooter rides.
            How about people going to the grocery store or some other shopping trip? Try hauling a big load of groceries back to your house while riding on a scooter.

            1. I may lots of short trips. It's called SALES. Then there's this other vital business function called DELIVERY. Neither of which can or will be done on scooters

            2. God are you really so fucking blind as to see the EXISTING transport system/options as the only possible one? Or do you think the transport design of suburbs was laid down by Noah right after the flood?

              When grocery stores are multiple miles from your house, then yeah people shop less frequently and load up when they do. Which also means they are then surrounded by acres of parking lot. And everyone is forced to buy massive fridges/freezers - and get fat as fuck to boot. Everything about that design is a post-WW2 creation - designed entirely around serving the car. Of course no other transport option works in those places. Because the existing system was designed ENTIRELY AROUND THE CAR. Nor do I really give a rat's ass about those places. You can have whatever car fetishistic govt you want - for YOUR road system.

              What I oppose is you imposing your transport fetish on MY road system in MY city. And in my location, there's multiple groceries and restaurants within a 10-block radius. That's more choices than you will ever have. But every one of them (except the restaurants) requires crossing some fucking arterial to get to it. So I have to get in my car for even a 10-block trip. And all the restaurants pull in traffic from all around town (and the suburbs which are void of real restaurants) - so even parking in my residential area is made more difficult because of that fetish about cars.

              1. It isn't YOUR road system or YOUR city. It belongs to everyone else - specifically all the everyone else's who made it the way that it is and like it that way.
                You can take your urban hipster BS and shove it. There is not and never has been any proof that there is something empirically superior about dense urban living. The changes in living patterns were (and are) due to changes in technology - not engineering by government against the will of people. At one time most people lived and worked on farms out in the country. It was advances in technology that changed that caused the move to cities and further changes in technology that caused the move to suburbs. Urban areas are not one iota superior in any way to suburbs - your personal preferences notwithstanding.

        2. What about heavier people?
          The elderly, many of whom need assistance just to stand?
          The wheelchair bound?
          People with balance issues?

          These scooters are toys that are only remotely useful to the young, fit, and healthy.

          1. 'Mobility scooter' is the word for the sit-down version. You see em in supermarkets. Wheelchairs also can have electric motors. They can have a box in the front or back for carrying heavier loads. They can be covered or enclosed to protect from elements. Or two/three/four wheels. Or designs that can carry passengers side-saddle in back. Or even a slightly narrower golf cart style for side-by-side passengers. There are just a ton of different designs that come out when there is actually an infrastructure they can use.

            Anyone who has older parents knows the difficulty of sitting down with them when they can no longer drive safely. They can't turn their neck or they can't process info at the same velocity they used to drive or they can't handle a bigger vehicle anymore. They don't commute anymore (the main source of 6+ mile drives in urban areas) but in this country not having a car is pretty close to a prison sentence re mobility options. And that's why they drive far longer than they are COMFORTABLE driving. Because there's no other option to get around.

            1. I often cite Netherlands as a country that completely rethought its transport system starting in the 1970's. Before that - from end of WW2 rebuild to the 73 oil embargo - they were on the same track as us. With cars eliminating everything else from the road. They're known for bikes cuz unlike us before WW2 they actually thought of bikes as utility transport rather than a mere kid's toy. But the changes they made for bikes also created an infrastructure for all sorts of other mobility options. For the elderly, disabled, overweight, poor who can't really afford to own a car, families who don't really need a full-size car for every adult, kids roaming independently or going to/from school. And the transport changes have spurred huge innovations in niche 'personal transport'. Great for entrepreneurs who can fill a niche - where cars now really require a billion-dollar assembly line with nothing except artificial 'niches'.

              1. Those options also include hauling freight. Horsepower is our measure for power. And while one horse actually generates about 15 horsepower even that is still sufficient to pull a lot of weight around at a slower velocity. Outside the US, humans have made plenty of advances that entrepreneurs could figure out - since the days of horses. Inside the US, we have made no entrepreneurial advances in the smaller horsepower engine since, oh say the outboard motor in a small boat (roughly 15 hp).

                The first cars were actually about 15 hp - Rolls-Royce 15 hp from 1904. All advances since then were to incorporate more horsepower for the long-haul market - rather than to make that size engine more efficient or provide more options for the short-haul market.

                1. The Ford Model T was a 20 hp engine. Just think of the possibilities if you limit yourself to that amount of power with more modern engines like the Stirling that don't even need fossil fuel and aren't internal combustion - and forget about trying to compete with trains/rail for the longer distance and higher velocity market.

                  Moving beyond that scale is what created the suburbs. But within cities, you don't need that for most private transport and cities should stop designing their road system for the benefit of suburbs. Those people left the city for a different life. That's fine but they should create their own car-fetishing life/governance now and stop free-loading off and coercing the road system of cities themselves.

                  1. You can't actually prove that the suburbs are "free loading" off of anybody.

                    1. The suburb where I live is home to office towers that house the HQ of Nissan, Mars Pet Care, Community Health Systems, CKE Hardee's/Carl's Jr., and Scneider Electric.

                      JFree needs to go play in traffic

                    2. J Free is a leftist.
                      When he isn't peddling Georgist nonsense about land taxes, he likes to veer off into anti-car rants.

                2. Yeah tell Fedex and UPS that what they need is smaller and slower trucks and that their customers will love them for getting their packages slower than they do now.

                  1. In most cities, the speed limit is 25 mph in residential areas and defaults to 35 mph or so on non-residential. Which also means ratrun commuters tend to default to 35 while cutting thru residential too.

                    Which is far too high for residential - 20 mph is actually the safest top speed where a)driver can actually react in time for an unexpected obstacle to avoid the accident and b)someone hit by said vehicle has a good chance of surviving. 95% survival at 20 mph collision, 50% survival at 30 mph, 10% survival at 40 mph. And 30-35 mph is far too low for longer-distance through traffic.

                    But yeah - any delivery business that depends on frequent stop deliveries in residential areas - or that is based entirely on within-city delivery doesn't need a vehicle with a top speed of 80+ mph for that purpose. And the Model T top speed happens to be 40 mph. So it is perfect for city delivery. As it was DESIGNED to be.

                    1. No surprise - the top speed of a 'normal' cyclist is also about 20 mph. And I'd bet the average city bus (or preferably van/tuktuk since that should all be privatized) rarely goes above 35 mph simply because it stops/starts so much.

                      Which means neither of them should be on arterials - where you really want to achieve 45+ mph flow for traffic. But they should have priority over cars on residential/slower streets. And not just priority via signs (which drivers ignore) but priority via street design.

                    2. If you think Fedex and UPS trucks don't drive faster than 35 mph you are delusional.

        3. Bikes, scooters, etc. are only an option if the weather is passable, you have no significant cargo, and are not bringing passengers. Which greatly reduces their utility.

    2. Except Nashville is the friendliest alt-option Metro in the country, who welcomed Uber/Lyft with open arms (Lyft is now HQed here, all but upper management) and gives special airport parking lots and access to closed streets during events whereas other cities try to box them out. And they welcomed scooters with open arms, which is why there are 7 providers with unlimited fleets. And thanks to the previous mayor, we have miles and miles of unused bike lanes that the scooters can have all to themselves.

      The problem is, they are a menace. Rather the 17 million drunk tourists on them are a menace. And you have to realize that Nashville allows an armada of horse-drawn carriages, golf carts, pedal taverns, and party buses, which may be simply souped up flatbed trailers pulled by in some cases a tractor, as well as converted buses and even a converted firetruck to clog traffic downtown outside working hours. So slowing traffic is not a concern.
      As much as I loathe the Woo Girls on the pedal taverns moving at 5mph, I have personally witnessed all kinds of bizarre scooter behavior in heavy traffic. It is unfathomable only 1 person has been killed, after seeing how drunks disregard all traffic laws, weave in and out of lanes purposely and leisurely, and there are multiple videos of scooter riders running stoplights and getting hit, etc. Only 1 person has died, but several more are permanently disabled or brain injured.
      The mayor is upset that they are left everywhere, on sidewalks, blocking doorways, interfering with wheelchair ramps. I have seen them abandoned late at night in the middle of busy intersections, highways, and on exit ramps, where it is almost impossible Not to hit them with your car. Those eventually get picked up early in the AM before the mayor sees them. One unidentified guy even threw one off an overpass onto the interstate, a couple of months after a commuter was killed by a chunk of concrete thrown off an overpass nearby.

      They are the very definition of a menace and a public safety hazard, and fc^k them and the drunk tourists who climb aboard to head back to their Air BnB. There are candidates running for council whose yard signs have their name and a pic of a scooter - crossed out Ghostbusters-style. They wore out their welcome almost immediately in the easiest to please market there is in the country.

      1. I work in downtown Nashville and could not agree with you more. I have almost hit idiots on scooters multiple times - they seem to be unaware that if they lose control or make a judgement error they're able to physically disembark the vehicle instead of plowing into traffic with it. Not that this is much better for the cars of oncoming drivers!

        1. Come back downtown after midnight on a weekend. Daytime scooter riders are a comparative pleasure.

          Of course, drunk pedestrians are just as bad. They wait til the light changes then charge out across 6 lanes without looking or caring.

          A lot more pedestrians have been killed than scooter riders, but MNPD apparently doesn't have the manpower (or the will) to police lower Broadway after 11 or write up kamikaze jaywalkers

          1. The laws need to change that protect non motorists from liability when they are hit by cars. After some jaywalker/scooterist/cyclist gets out of the hospital after an accident, send them to jail for their fuck up and let THEM be sued.

            And please note, I AM a cyclist. So I hate bad cyclists more than most people here and can barely restrain the urge to run them down when I see them riding like assholes.

      2. Well said.

  5. "Making Commutes Harder With Increased Scooter Regulations"

    Bull Shit. Those things are toys, not serious commuter vehicles.

    I remember back when the inventor of the Segway was hyping his new invention that would "revolutionize the transportation industry", for months and months without any details on what the new invention was.

    Then my jaw dropped, when the official announcement was made and we found out just what the new invention that was supposed to revolutionize transportation. My reaction: Oh my God, it's a fucking toy!

    1. Yes, the author is a fcvking idiot. No one "commutes" on a scooter, they bar-hop.

      1. Depends on the town. Here the vast, vast majority of use is part of the commute, between home and the subway station.

  6. With so many being thrown into rivers, fields, and even the ocean I'm not sure that "environmentally friendly" applies.

  7. Electric scooter or bicycles, hell these things sure get in the way.

  8. Scooters are dangerous as are cyclists to pedestrians, these things need their own lane like they do in Germany.

  9. Some of this may be spring from sincere safety concerns; some may be crony-style favoritism; some, in the words of geographer Jason Henderson, may be "a political backlash against what is perceived to be, rightly or wrongly, a very arrogant gilded age-style approach toward public space by tech companies." But it adds up to the same results: Rather than letting competition take place, officials are clamping down on a useful and innovative form of transportation.

    Aaaaaand you didn't look into what some of the motivations actually are? We're just briefly speculating and leaving it there? Do journalists even bother to ask questions of relevant persons involved anymore?

    I really have a hard time believing that politicians across the country are pushing for scooters to follow the same rules as bikes (specifically as to where the vehicles can be operated) without having a reason or some sort of pressure from voters to implement rules.

    There has to be some sort of reason for all this - shitty or not. If we're going to claim that there's some sort of "bootlegger and the baptist" situation going on here, we have to actually identify the argument serving as the "baptist" and the real motivation serving as the "bootlegger." Or, if its just a safety concern, we should identify those concerns. If all of this has resulted from one person's death, the article should make that connection, but as far as I can tell, that one death is not the motivating factor outside that one city.

    Instead, all I get is that scooters good, politicians bad... which I'm generally on board with, but there doesn't seem to be much of an argument here other than: we shouldn't let things get regulated. That's it. That's the argument as far as I can tell.

    1. I laid it all out for you above. Nashville is the friendliest market in the country, perhaps the world, for rideshare, short term rental, alt-transportation, alt-delivery, alt-chores, and when they came, scooters. And now all the locals hate scooters with a fiery passion

      1. I went up and read your comment. That is pretty much what I imagined was happening - well, at least that people are upset, that there is a reason why these cities are doing what they're doing. I say let them, I'm all about local control and federalism in general. Getting polices down to the city level is even better.

        This is what I don't understand - we have plenty of examples of human activity infringing on the rights of others to move freely and exercise their own rights. Is it a violation of the NAP to leave your scooter in the middle of the sidewalk? It seems like you'd have to have a tortured definition of aggression to prove it to be true. We could argue that its the millions of pedestrian's responsibility to look where they're walking... but its much more efficient to tell the thousands of irresponsible scooter renters/owners (out of the millions of totally responsible scooter renters) that their are rules now and they must be followed - just like how pedestrians, cars, buses, etc ALL have rules so we can get around safely.

        My buddy lives in El Salvador. They don't have enforcement of rules for roads down there. You don't want to drive in El Salvador, its fucking terrifying.

        1. there* are

        2. Not as bad as Saudi Arabia. Very few traffic laws, subsidized fuel, plenty of wealth to buy fast cars, immature men, and the fatalistic enshallah mindset (my life/death is entirely in god's hands - god willing). Encourages some seriously fucked up driving. Parking lot type skid/drifts - at 150 mph on the highway.

          1. Haha, wow, that is insane. I'm happy I live in the USA, I fucking love this country.

      2. "And now all the locals hate scooters with a fiery passion"

        It's a matter of time before people get used to innovations. The first few years of automobile usage can be pretty chaotic. I suppose it's possible to see this chaos in action if you travel, as I have done, to places where cars are still something of a novelty. You'll see all sorts of unsafe or anti-social behaviour, tail-gating, constant horn blasting etc.

    2. I really have a hard time believing that politicians across the country are pushing for scooters to follow the same rules as bikes (specifically as to where the vehicles can be operated) without having a reason or some sort of pressure from voters to implement rules.

      I live in a city with resoundingly progressive leadership (who repeatedly call for alternative transportation options) and it comes down to a mish-mash of reasons. Perceived safety is one of them. American progressives love bikes, they love pedestrians, they love mass transit, but unlike their more pragmatic European counterparts, they don't like them mixed together. The US has become a culture of safety, and giving up any safety for utility is now... verboten.

      There's also the chaos aspect of it. People leave the scooters kind of... wherever. Again, my experiences in Europe is the Europeans are more willing to live with* a little chaos in exchange for alternative transportation options. Americans aren't. the reasons, in my opinion are largely cultural in the area of perceptions of safety and order.

      *that is beginning to change. Amsterdam has started cracking down on bike shares due to the overwhelming chaos of bikes literally parked everywhere.

      1. That is interesting. I've always assumed that Americans were the rowdy and chaotic lot while the euros were the regimented & regulated people.

        I agree that we do focus way too much on safety in this country. There's some sort of idea that if just 1 person gets hurt or injured, we're all unsafe and something must be done. Almost every time an incident happens, if you look into the incident a little more, you'll find out that the person that died was being extremely careless or reckless. OR, the person that hurt him/her was already in violation of a safety law in some way or another. Maybe Americans are the regimented & regulated people when it comes to safety.

        1. Vanderbilt medical Center treats 15+ serious scooter injuries (this was the count in May when tourist season was just getting ramped up) per week, and a serious traumatic brain injury at least every month.

          I don't even think anyone is keeping stats on the pedestrians hit by scooters (not as traumatic), or the cars damaged by scooters, either run into, or running over one left in the middle of a congested road.

          1. In Spokane, the homeless meth addicts have recently taken to hauling the scooters over to the river and tossing them in. Not sure why.

            1. I can guess, they don't like they douchebags who zip past them within inches at 15-20 mph, and don't like them cluttering up the sidewalks that they want to clutter up with their own shit. Although I am torn in this scenario who to be against more.

    3. The problem is that a large number of people who operate these scooters are too fucking incompetent to do it. Lackadaisical, inattentive, stupid, often drunk...... Keep in mind many who use the are progressives, who certainly cannot be counted on to do anything successfully, or be accountable in any way.

      1. How do you know the political persuasion of the millions of people using rented scooters?

  10. Scooters should not be on sidewalks. Side WALKS are for pedestrians. Pedestrians - don't get out of the way of, swerve in front of, obstrust in any way you can goddamn scooters, bicycles and segways on the side walk.

  11. I live downtown Nashville, and the scooters are a menace to some and a nuisance to all. Live here awhile around these zooming idiots and you will change your "no regulations!" mind, and quickly.

    1. "you will change your “no regulations!” mind, and quickly."

      Just fit the scooters with a bow-mounted cannon and join them in a 'well regulated flotilla.' The 2nd amendment will forestall any nasty regulations.

      1. how about we fit your feet with cement blocks and launch you first

        1. Was it something I said?

  12. For the problem of users leaving them everywhere - why don't the companies lock you out of their system if you do not return the scooter to a designated "docking" or "collection area". The technology to implement this should not be too hard.

    1. "why don’t the companies lock you out of their system if you do not return the scooter to a designated “docking” or “collection area”"

      Because their business model is all about not having designated docking and/or collection areas.

    2. We have them in my area. Part of the appeal is that I can look on their app and see exactly where unused scooters are near me. So I may only have to walk a block or two to find one and begin riding. If have to walk miles to a hub, then there is no point in using them.

  13. "environmentally friendly transportation" is not environmentally friendly. Electric vehicles are environmentally friendly only to cities in which they are used while shifting the pollution of electricity generation and battery manufacturing and disposal to elsewhere. Since the high-population, high-income cities have the leverage, they can successfully shift the pollution to poorer rural areas.
    Just one more way to oppress and live off the backs of others less fortunate.

    1. I don't think that's really the point here one way or another.

  14. We have them here. Love them, super fun and convenient. Extremely popular. Most people bitching fall under two categories: The assholes doing unsafe shit like riding the wrong way on a one way street and riding on the sidewalk (bikes are banned from the sidewalk too, it makes sense here as there's heavy pedestrian traffic) and running red lights without even stopping, and things like that.. oh and leaving them in bad spots. This is an enforcement issue... Ticket unsafe riders like unsafe cyclists and the problem will be greatly reduced; Lime at least already has a mechanism that could be used to penalize bad parking.
    The other camp... They're pissed off that people are treating the scooters like bikes and want them held to the same standards as cars. Rolling stops, going through a red when clear, passing slow cars... All things normal for bikes. They're also delusional about safety... Scooters are less dangerous than bikes since they're easier to stop. They complain about parking the exact way bikes are parked out of the way. And want a full ban. Fuck these guys.

  15. Another laughable story on apparent “rights” to use scooters. A libertarian thinks that government can’t regulate safety on the streets. So when does vehicle safety not an issue? I suggest that any non-licensed vehicle should never share the road with licensed vehicles. Why? Liability. The litigious society we live in does not favor the licensed vehicle, meaning that we the driver will always be at fault when running over a cyclist or a scooter or a skater or whatever. We are not protected against idiocy of a greenie saving the planet.

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