A growing debate on the electric scooters craze that is sweeping through cities around the U.S. has local lawmakers scrambling amid public outcry over safety. Touted as the first- and finalmile mode of transportation for commuters using public buses and light rail, scooter companies like Bird and Lime are banking on the convenience factor that electric scooters offer.
The scooters are easy to use and can be left anywhere when the rider is done, which is one the arguments often voiced from residents and business owners who say abandoned scooters are blocking sidewalks and driveways and create havoc for pedestrians. San Francisco, one of the first cities to have electric scooters appear, recently pulled the plug on three companies, Lime, Bird and Spin, until local lawmakers could implement a permit program, which began June 4. “San Francisco supports transportation innovation, but it cannot come at the price of public safety,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “This permit program represents a thoughtful, coordinated and effective approach to ensure that San Francisco strikes the right balance.”
Proponents say scooters are environmentally friendly and riders need to follow the rules of the road and ride responsibly for the public to accept them as a viable means to reduce traffic. In hopes of swaying public opinion, Lime surveyed 7,000 Lime riders in San Francisco and presented the results to City officials to show the positive impact that scooters have on the reduction of traffic and pollution.
Guest post by George Marsh.