Since the beginning of time (or at least since Macklemore rode his faux fur-lined coat to the thrift shop), the scooter has been a fairly popular mode of transportation amongst urban residents. In recent months, many major cities have experienced the growth of scooters overnight (literally, scooters have littered the sidewalks more than trash this summer, popping up like weeds for hipsters and tech bros). While companies like Lime, Bird, Lyft, Jump, and others tout the benefits of scooters with regard to reducing carbon emissions and cutting down on traffic and pollution, others view the scooter infestation like a literal weed infestation and see it as a trend that must be eradicated.
On a positive note, scooters are a great way for people who live in cities to easily get around, but on the flip side, scooters have also been the cause for numerous accidents- and a fair amount of annoyance.
Recently, the city of Santa Monica, allowed Bird and Lime to each release 750 scooters in the city while it allowed Lyft and JUMP to release 250 scooters each along with 500 bikes. A recent Los Angeles Times article found that in cities where the scooters have launched, riders continue to flout local helmet rules, ride on sidewalks and disobey traffic laws. Recently, in Santa Monica, a man on a Bird scooter collided with a Honda sedan after zipping through a stop sign, resulting in what the Santa Monica Police Department described as a moderate head injury. The man was not wearing a helmet.
There’s also the headache that drivers face when dealing with scooters weaving in and out of traffic in congested city streets where there are no bicycle lanes or sidewalks.
Are scooters here to stay or will they join Macklemore’s short-lived thrift shop trend? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, cities are warning riders to obey all traffic laws and literally, in the wise words of one Lavar Ball, “stay in yo lane.”