Electric Scooters are a Noticeable Problem for Cities
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Where electric scooters go, debates and controversies are sure to follow. These scooters were originally thought to be an innovation in transportation, but every city that adds them seems to inevitably face challenges. Some believe that scooters are dangerous, and others simply find them to be nuisances.
CNN discusses the problems associated with electric scooters. With a lack of precedents in place for how to deal with the scooters and data still new and inconclusive about their safety, cities are having to regularly change laws and regulations for the vehicles.
Do scooters belong on roads or sidewalks?
Many issues with electric scooters stem from the fact that they don't fit in on the sidewalks or the roads.
Initially, many cities thought that electric scooters would be helpful for pedestrians. In areas where traffic is congested and public transportation may only reach certain spaces, scooters offer a way to shift some traffic to the sidewalks. In reality, scooters proved to be a nightmare on sidewalks. Their speed posed safety issues for walkers.
Because of this, scooters moved to the streets, and this has produced more issues. While the scooters may be faster than someone on foot, most of them can only travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour. This combined with the minimal protection they offer riders has made them dangerous to ride on city streets.
As cities and companies work to keep up with new information and trial runs of electric scooters, rules have changed. Some of these come from city ordinances. Others have come from the companies directly.
A common response from cities is to outright ban the scooters. Cities that do this believe that scooters pose too many dangers to riders and non-riders alike. Helmet laws, rider licenses, or other restrictions could be implemented. For riders, this is the worst-case scenario, as their convenient mode of transportation gets snatched away.
Electric scooter companies have also created restrictions. The scooters use GPS as part of their rental system. In some cities, the GPS can detect when a rider is going into a restricted zone. When this happens, the scooter automatically slows down or stops entirely. While this may help keep the scooters in their designated areas, riders have found the GPS restrictions easy to bypass.
Arguments in favor of and against electric scooters
The safety issue has been at the center of the electric scooter debate, but it is not the only thing to consider. Strong opinions are held both in favor of the scooters and against them for other reasons as well.
Those who support electric scooters point out how convenient and accessible they are. Renting a scooter is as easy as finding one and pressing through a few pages on an app. They are easy to ride and can help get around areas like college campuses.
Those opposed to scooters frequently note the clutter that the scooters cause. Electric scooters are parked wherever a rider chooses, and then scooters are found using GPS at the end of the day.
Because of this lack of designated parking spaces, electric scooters are often simply left on sidewalks. While some simply view them as eyesores, they can also make sidewalks inaccessible for wheelchairs.
Electric scooters are still relatively new, and it is hard to predict how rules and regulations around them will change in the coming years. Transportation is experiencing several shifts right now, with innovations like electric vehicles gaining traction.
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