Scooter Ban Misses Opportunity for Actual Improvement

Let me start by pointing out that quick decisions after an emotional rarely, if ever, lead to good outcomes.

And let’s be honest, a non-insubstantial amount of my our scooter outrage is good-ole-fashioned crotchetiness. Weird how this one particular comment just automatically came hyperlinked in my post.

We should take this time to think more broadly about our streets. There’s unsafe practices all over. Yes, that’s partly to blame for the spate of scooter accidents.

But the Governors Highway Safety Association published a report in 2018 pegging more than 200 pedestrian fatalities in Georgia for 2017.

Atlanta Magazine reports 145 collisions between cars, pedestrians and bikes over a two-year period. At one intersection. That’s at a nexus of Atlanta’s social life. And that’s only one horrifying statistic from the post.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed US Department of Transportation data for 2017 and found there were 1,440 fatal crashes in Georgia leading to 1,540 fatalities.

I know I’m mixing things up with Georgia at large and Atlanta but the point is: the scooter-specific incident rate is still far lower than what it is for cars and no one is spurred to action even though GDOT says 863 people have died on our roadways this year.

Scooters have some value as last-mile transportation. As much as they annoy me it’s true. Maybe they ought to be restricted in number. But, we also have a serious congestion problem and we can’t induce more demand for traffic by building more roads to solve our problems. The only answer is fewer cars on the road. Period. Oh, and let’s not forgot the environmental benefits. Oh, and the direct cost to Atlanta’s drivers due to congestion.

We should take this time to think how we can provide safer and superior roads for all forms of transportation: mass transit, alternative vehicles and perhaps most importantly, cars. People are changing their transportation preferences to be less car-dependent. Now’s as good a time as any to say let’s be adaptable and become a truly multi-modal city. Not simply one that waves its hands in frustration and ends the discussion.

To the City of Atlanta’s credit, Mayor Bottoms now has “an accelerated plan for changes to our streets creating safer, dedicated spaces for cyclists and scooter riders.” Let’s see what the results are.

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RaleighedatlantaDave BearseNoParty4MeGregs Recent comment authors
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Gregs
Gregs

So you’re arguing that because we have lots of other unsafe things on the streets we should add one more?

Ban scooters everywhere until the industry solves its safety issues!

Raleigh
Raleigh

“Ban scooters everywhere until the industry solves its safety issues!”

Did the scooter industry create this problem? Did the scooter industry design and build the roads or infrastructure? Did the scooter industry create the laws governing scooters? Did the Scooter force someone to ride in an unsafe manner? With all the other “unsafe” things out there why single out this one industry? If we are going to do this then ban bicycles “everywhere” because many more people are injured and killed on those than are injured and killed on scooters until the bicycle industry solves it’s safety issues.

Gregs
Gregs

In order, Yes, the scooter industry created this specific problem. No, they did not design or build the roads or infrastructure, but they did put a product on the existing streets with no thought or care to how they could be operated safely. No they didn’t create the the laws governing scooters. There weren’t any laws governing scooters because they didn’t bother to announce their arrival. We all woke up one morning and the cities were littered with these devices. We also have a host of traffic rules governing how cars and bicycles can be operated. No, they didn’t force… Read more »

Raleigh
Raleigh

So your only problem is the way Scooter were introduced? Another statement you made is telling. “Why shouldn’t the industry that wants to profit from them be held accountable for driving solutions to the inherent problems?” Apply that logic to bicycles, motorcycles. cars, trucks, boats, jet skis kayaks canoes, sailboats and all other forms of driving solutions. Why do you feel you are due an “announcement” to introduce scooters which have been around for a long time. The only thing new is an entrepreneur figured out how to rent them to the general public and make a profit. Is that… Read more »

Gregs
Gregs

So you didn’t refute anything I said. Your response is entrepreneurs should be able to do anything they want or I must be anti-profits to oppose the irresponsible pursuit of profits.

I’ll tell you what, I just figured out how to make money letting vipers go in your neighborhood. Vipers have been around since the beginning of time so you can’t object to a new use of them.

I’ll see ya later Mr. Capitalist!

Raleigh
Raleigh

No Mr. Greg’s I refuted everything you said because all you really said was you were upset you were not informed that companies were going to try a new business model and you hate the idea that a company that you don’t like might make a profit from their Idea. I don’t think these companies realized how important you believe you are. There are 2 sad things here. 1 you really said nothing about improving the infrastructure and safety of alternate transportation which I believe was the point of this thread. Last your position is indefensible so you hang on… Read more »

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

All good points. But one issue with the renta scooters, and renta bikes, is the fact they litter the right of way blocking flow of traffic and in violation of various, mostly unenforced, codes prohibiting lots of crap blocking sidewalks, etc. Abandoned scooters have spread like syphilis at summer camp. The distributors place them in bad locations and riders just don’t care where they dump them end of ride.

I agree the use and safety issues must be addressed and be equally applied to any restrictions on pedal bikes or other motorized wheeled transport.

Gregs
Gregs

The scooter industry was well aware of all of the problems cities would encounter because they were banned in Frisco in 2017 and only allowed back under a trial program in October 2018. Still, they did nothing to work with East Coast cities before dropping an unsafe product into cities in the stealth of night.

https://gizmodo.com/electric-scooters-are-reportedly-already-creating-probl-1829829223

One call, thats all!

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

“…the point is: the scooter-specific incident rate is still far lower than what it is for cars…”

What are the units on rate that support that statement?

Vehicle or passenger miles per crash is the general transportation standard when comparing modes. I’d need a cite to accept that scooters are safer by that standard.

A better standard perhaps is vehicle or passenger travel time per crash. Even then, it’s a stretch to accept time on a scooter is safer than time in a car.

Gregs
Gregs

I agree. If we allow this nonsense to continue and accelerate to the usage rate of cars then you”ll see death and injury rates that pale in comparison. All of this could have been avoided by a responsible industry but that’s not what we have here. Money is the prime motivator and they don’t seem to care how many deaths and accidents happen. Scooters have to be banned and lawsuits have to be filed.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

I think they care. But hey, let others pay for the infrastructure necessary for their profits.