Electronic scooters continue to invade America's cities
There are a few things in life that are guaranteed. Death, taxes and now… parked electronic scooters. With the proliferation of these scooters, cities like Atlanta have been blanketed by scooters for at least the past year. Walking around the downtown portion of the city is like participating in a game of Dodgeball. One must dodge the moving and parked scooters on the sidewalks.
It’s one thing that there are several scooters flooding downtown Atlanta. It’s quite another when it’s a windy day. On those days, it’s goodbye to parked scooters standing up on their wheels and hello tripping over these devices. That scenario is bad for all of us, but even worse for the disabled. Let’s face it, the electronic scooters need to be corralled so that we don’t trip over them.
The city of Atlanta put a ban on e-scooters on sidewalks at the beginning of the year. The ban says that users must leave the scooters upright and at least five feet from sidewalks. Police and the city’s Public Works department are supposed to enforce the ban. As of this writing, we are more than four months into the year, scooters still clutter the sidewalks.
The city does ask the public to report violations directly to the scooter companies. I’m not sure how well this is working. When anyone reports these violations to Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump or Uber, I’m wondering how well these companies deal with the reports.
I recently heard that a group called PEDS has an idea to do something about this modern-day dilemma. PEDS is proposing a tool called “Clear the Clutter” – which allows users to upload photos of illegally parked scooters. It’s a great effort on the part of PEDS. This idea seems to be far more efficient than what’s currently in place. Right now, the plan is to leave the group’s “clear cutting” tool up and to write a report to the city with three months of data, but 30 days could be enough.
Certainly, scooters could be a great way for some to get around for a few miles when folks in are in a crunch. In my opinion, they go quite fast and users to do not seem to be protected any padding or helmets. E-scooter users are primarily on sidewalks so that’s a recipe for disaster with pedestrians. The only way for scooters to live in harmony with the public is for them to have dedicated lanes – which we know is next to impossible in this metro area or any other metro area for that matter.
Hopefully PEDS’ idea will have a positive impact.
In the meantime, I’ll keep dodging those scooters.