Commentary by Samuel Strait – April 20, 2023
Looks like it is “pick on the City Council” today as I spent an hour or
so looking for those modern benefits to public transportation at a cost,
EV Scooters for hire. Oh and “green” too. In any event, the search was
fruitless and maybe for the best. I don’t suppose many who remember the
City’s Council authorizing an Electric Scooter rental company to come to
town last summer. The plan was to allow a couple dozen of the friendly
little critters to operate from “no fixed location”within the City’s
limits. A great benefit to tourists who want to cruise the “boulevards”
of our charming “destination” resort to be. It was ushered in with
great promise, likely an additional benefit and nod to becoming “green”
and fighting “Climate Change”, whatever that is on any given day. We
are all wondering what happened?
Maybe the word has leaked, that the little “beasties” are neither
“green”, nor friendly. Seems they don’t play well on the streets, and
are a bane to bicyclists, pedestrians, and the handicapped. In 2017 they
were all the rage in many European and US cities, Paris among them. At
least until the other shoe dropped. Looks like the Mayor of Paris
intends to ban all rental E scooters by the end of the summer 2023.
Other cities, while maintaining the ability to rent the menaces, have
instituted stringent regulations when riding. Unfortunately most are
regularly ignored by riders.
Back to Paris where deaths from E scooters rose to sixty in 2022,
including one sixty year old woman killed while walking her dog on the
sidewalk. Riding the little monsters was to be restricted to bike
lanes, yet many riders are less discriminating and regularly fly down
crowded pedestrian sidewalks at top speed causing those not terribly
agile to flee to the streets. Riders in the bike lanes have quite
often become a nuisance to bike riders, the differences in speed being
the most common problem. Bike riders detest being “ridden” down in
their safe spaces.
Then there is also the unfortunate E scooter rider whose steed runs out
of juice, in the middle of the street, in front of businesses or in
intersections. Most people would assume that these unfortunates would
at least find a safe place to leave their inoperative beasty, but no,
where ever they end up they are abandoned, even if it is in the middle
of the street or intersection. Bravo to this generation of rental E
scooter riders. Many cities that have allowed the proliferation of E
scooters are beginning to regret the open arms welcome they were given
just six years ago. Problems began almost immediately, and regulation
was quick to follow. Lower speeds allowed. Restricted to bike lanes
only, and some even required “helmets” my goodness. Nothing seemed to
work and Paris’ 15,000 rental scooters will be a thing of the past, at
least by the end of summer 2023.
Wondering where Crescent City’s EV scooters are?