11 votes

Invasion of the electric scooter – can our cities cope?

22 comments

  1. [7]
    blitz
    Link
    I have very mixed feelings about electric scooters in their current form. This article paints a very negative picture of scooters, and I agree with it on pretty much every point, but there are...

    I have very mixed feelings about electric scooters in their current form. This article paints a very negative picture of scooters, and I agree with it on pretty much every point, but there are also positives:

    • People have the option of taking a scooter instead of a taxi. I think this is both environmentally friendly and lessens traffic in urban areas.
    • People can use these for their last mile of public transit travel. I frequently see scooters deployed at bus stops.
    • Non-car road use is increased. As a cyclist commuter, sure it's a little bit annoying to have to pass these slower vehicles in bike lanes and on shared paths, but at the same time the utilization of this infrastructure is increased, meaning that governments may spend more money developing this infrastructure. There's also a feeling of increased safety when there are more non-car vehicles on the road, though this feeling may not be supported by current evidence of car/bicycle accidents.
    15 votes
    1. [4]
      ali
      Link Parent
      I wonder if there have been any research done on whether we could just replace a single lane (when there are two ore more) and fully reserve it for bikes/e scooters.

      I wonder if there have been any research done on whether we could just replace a single lane (when there are two ore more) and fully reserve it for bikes/e scooters.

      4 votes
      1. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        I'd be happy with designated scooter parking lots. Maybe have the app give you a small discount or credit if you leave your scooter parked in them so it wouldn't be mandatory but still provide...

        I'd be happy with designated scooter parking lots. Maybe have the app give you a small discount or credit if you leave your scooter parked in them so it wouldn't be mandatory but still provide some nudge/encouragements for better citizenship. Most of the people who behave badly with these tend to be teenagers, in my experience, and young people tend to be fairly price sensitive.

        They can even offer charging infrastructure so they'll be more likely to have a topped up battery if they're parked there.

        Part of the issue is scooter use (and bike shares) just haven't been socialized very well. We need to start teaching kids in school how the rules of the road work when you're on a bike or a scooter the same way we teach kids about cars.

        6 votes
      2. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        There has been. But, in most places that it's tried, there's immense push back from nimbys who are terrified of the automobile losing dominance.

        There has been. But, in most places that it's tried, there's immense push back from nimbys who are terrified of the automobile losing dominance.

        6 votes
      3. Octofox
        Link Parent
        In my city we kind of have this, the outside lane is a bus lane but it tends to be somewhat free of buses a lot of the time and bikes can use the whole lane. The traffic lights group up all the...

        In my city we kind of have this, the outside lane is a bus lane but it tends to be somewhat free of buses a lot of the time and bikes can use the whole lane. The traffic lights group up all the bikes in to a bus sized blob so its hard to miss for cars turning across the lane

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. blitz
        Link Parent
        The bike docks share a problem of what happens when too many people are trying to leave from one area (lack of availability), but the scooters have an advantage over bikes when people are...

        The bike docks share a problem of what happens when too many people are trying to leave from one area (lack of availability), but the scooters have an advantage over bikes when people are traveling to a popular location: the dock can get full. I've never used these dock programs but a full dock would certainly be a concern of mine if I was using these bikes to travel to an event.

        3 votes
    3. Douglas
      Link Parent
      I also see a lot of low-income people using scooters to get to and fro. I think the accessible pricing has really helped them as a transportation alternative.

      I also see a lot of low-income people using scooters to get to and fro. I think the accessible pricing has really helped them as a transportation alternative.

      2 votes
  2. [9]
    ubergeek
    Link
    Well, seeing as they take up less resources than cars, I think they'll cope just fine. This sounds like the complaints I heard about dock-less bicycle services... But yet, nobody complains about...

    Well, seeing as they take up less resources than cars, I think they'll cope just fine.

    This sounds like the complaints I heard about dock-less bicycle services... But yet, nobody complains about "dock-less cars littering the streets".

    11 votes
    1. stephen
      Link Parent
      You know what dockless form of transport is the worst for our cities yet gets little flack for being such? Cars. You wanna talk about "these vehicles are littering our streets" lets talk about...

      You know what dockless form of transport is the worst for our cities yet gets little flack for being such? Cars. You wanna talk about "these vehicles are littering our streets" lets talk about parking lots and freeway interchanges, curbside parking and 8 lane-circulating roads next to homes, businesses, and schools. I don't know why, but people seem totally incapable of realizing that all the criticisms of dockless scooter and bike share programs apply x1 billion to private automobiles.

      19 votes
    2. [3]
      CedarMadness
      Link Parent
      Cars have docks, though, they're called parking spaces. And if you leave your car outside of a "dock", you will be fined or towed.

      Cars have docks, though, they're called parking spaces. And if you leave your car outside of a "dock", you will be fined or towed.

      7 votes
      1. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Bicycles have "docks" too. They're called "Anything you can lock it to, preferably, a proper rack, if present."

        Bicycles have "docks" too. They're called "Anything you can lock it to, preferably, a proper rack, if present."

        10 votes
      2. Anwyl
        Link Parent
        Why not just replace like... 10% of parking spaces with dockless bike/scooter parking? Heck, for a bit more money you could add a bike rack and allow individual bikes to park too.

        Why not just replace like... 10% of parking spaces with dockless bike/scooter parking? Heck, for a bit more money you could add a bike rack and allow individual bikes to park too.

        2 votes
    3. [5]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [4]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        You mean how cars litter public spaces like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/286400857525482106/

        You mean how cars litter public spaces like this:
        https://www.pinterest.com/pin/286400857525482106/

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [3]
            ubergeek
            Link Parent
            You just said cars don't "dock" in the middle of a transit route, though? It happens quite often. So much, in fact, there's entire twitter and instagram feeds per city for it... Not even counting...

            You just said cars don't "dock" in the middle of a transit route, though?

            It happens quite often. So much, in fact, there's entire twitter and instagram feeds per city for it...

            Not even counting cars that pull into driveways, and straddle the sidewalk... Again, "docked" on sidewalks...

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [2]
                ubergeek
                Link Parent
                A little bit of logical consistency. Cars are worse about it than scooters or bikes without docks. And there's already legislation about it for cars, and still it's a large problem. But, I don't...

                All I want is legislation from my city that prevents a mode of transportation from becoming litter. If people must treat scooters the way they treat cars and park in designated areas to allow traffic (pedestrian, vehicular, or otherwise) to flow freely, I will welcome them. I believe there is a proper balance somewhere.

                A little bit of logical consistency.

                Cars are worse about it than scooters or bikes without docks. And there's already legislation about it for cars, and still it's a large problem.

                But, I don't see anyone calling for "slowing down the car problem".

                So, in reality, there is a "balance" of sorts.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. ubergeek
                    Link Parent
                    Very true. Thousands of scooters littering the sidewalks would pale in comparison to a couple hundred cars doing the same.

                    Equating scooters with cars is logically inconsistent though.

                    Very true. Thousands of scooters littering the sidewalks would pale in comparison to a couple hundred cars doing the same.

                    1 vote
  3. [4]
    Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    There's a lot of positives to these scooters and I will acknowledge that. That said, at least in the 2 cities I've lived in, these programs can eat my shorts and fuck off. My home town (and it...

    There's a lot of positives to these scooters and I will acknowledge that. That said, at least in the 2 cities I've lived in, these programs can eat my shorts and fuck off. My home town (and it looks like much of Ohio too) proposed laws to ban the scooters after multiple students died in accidents on them while drunk. In the current city I live in I've been ran off the sidewalk multiple times and have been run over by people on them while on the sidewalk twice. Not to mention all the assholes that keep leaving them laying down in the middle of the fucking road and blocking traffic until (a) someone walking by notices and moves it or (b) a car comes down the road and the driver has to stop, get out of the car, and move it somewhere else. Not to mention they don't have any safety requirements like "Hey here's a helmet" (which is a problem I also have will all the bike dock services but that's a different rant). To summarize, I think a cheap means of transportation that is environmentally friendly is a necessity in the US (plz fix our subways for the love of god) but in their current unregulated state these services are causing regular disruption by assholes who never face repercussions.

    6 votes
    1. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      That seems like user error more than an issue with the concept of riding a scooter. Outside of freak-accidents, I can't understand how a student aged person would get killed on one of those unless...

      multiple students died in accidents on them while drunk.

      That seems like user error more than an issue with the concept of riding a scooter. Outside of freak-accidents, I can't understand how a student aged person would get killed on one of those unless they run red lights/stop signs or just careen irresponsibly into moving traffic. And all those would be just as true of being a pedestrian or a cyclist or even a motorist.

      I'd say the biggest risk this poses is to the disabled and the elderly, and it mostly comes from scooters using sidewalks at high speed when they ought to be on the road, like bicycles. A lot of cyclists where I live tend to whine that they slow things down since they're slower than a bike (on flat terrain at least). But if we actually care about sharing the road that's how it works isn't it? That's basically how cars feel about cyclists. . .

      8 votes
    2. HanakoIsBestGirl
      Link Parent
      People die and kill others driving cars while drunk, but we don't ban cars. We make drunk driving illegal. Same thing could work here. Helmets can be made mandatory. In aus it's illegal to ride a...

      multiple students died in accidents on them while drunk

      People die and kill others driving cars while drunk, but we don't ban cars. We make drunk driving illegal. Same thing could work here.

      they don't have any safety requirements like "Hey here's a helmet"

      Helmets can be made mandatory. In aus it's illegal to ride a bike without a helmet (we were the first country to make them mandatory), there's no reason why it can't apply to scooters.

      And as for other safety requirements, cars undergo rigorous safety screening, why not these scooters too.

      But assholes will be assholes, and people who don't care for safety will continue to do so. And I'm not sure if much can be done here.

      3 votes
    3. Adys
      Link Parent
      Helmets are mandatory, and they do have various safety rules in place (don't ride on sidewalks, etc). They're very loosely followed and that's usually the city's fault for not having the proper...

      Helmets are mandatory, and they do have various safety rules in place (don't ride on sidewalks, etc). They're very loosely followed and that's usually the city's fault for not having the proper infrastructure for them.

      The worst part about all these startups is honestly how many there are. There's 4 different e-bike services here in Brussels, and around 10-12 different e-scooter startups. No account sharing or anything, gotta sign up to each one individualy.

      2 votes
  4. DonQuixote
    Link
    Do current ones come with a bicycle bell? That used to work pretty well in Amsterdam.

    Do current ones come with a bicycle bell? That used to work pretty well in Amsterdam.

    3 votes
  5. CrazyOtter
    Link
    Personally I really hope they are legalized in the UK. It could reduce the amount of pollution in cities, take some pressure off the roads and give people another transport option that isn't...

    Personally I really hope they are legalized in the UK. It could reduce the amount of pollution in cities, take some pressure off the roads and give people another transport option that isn't fossil fuel based.

    2 votes