How U.S. Cities are Dealing with Legal Challenges Posed by E-Scooters
Mar 25, 2019 09:09 PM EDT
The rising tide of personal transport has moved away from cars and into the realm of two wheels - the scooter. Elektrek notes that as much as 55% of Americans believe that the future of rented transport will be on-demand scooter-sharing programs. This is a change from the way Americans have thought about personal transportation in the past, but it falls in line with a newfound awareness of the need for green transportation. However, with every positive development, there are always concerns to be addressed by the government. Many US cities are having to rethink how they look at and regulate electric scooters to keep in line with safety regulations in other forms of public transport.
Scooter Ride Sharing and Legislative Hurdles
The power scooter application Bird, as noted by Smart Company, leverages electric scooters as a service and even pays people to let those scooters charge within their homes. This innovation provides great promise for the future of electric vehicle transportation and combined familiarity of ride-sharing with something that's new, innovative, and most importantly, affordable. Bird brings to America a system that has existed before in other parts of the world. Tech Crunch tells us that companies like Lime and Taxify already exist in Europe alongside Bird as a means of providing personal transport in some of the world's biggest cities. However, all is not well with Bird stateside, as government legislation seems to be strangling the company before it can get legs under it.
Killing the Scooter
The LA Times mentions that a lot of residents of Los Angeles have become so fed up with scooters invading their city that they've taken to throwing them into the sea or even setting them on fire. Because of the ire of locals, lawmakers in LA have decided to crack down on these scooters according to Yo Venice. Cease-and-desist letters have even been sent to Bird to force them to remove their devices until regulatory legislation was passed to allow them to operate their machines under the purview of the law.
The Wrong Move?
Adopting new technology is, no doubt, difficult for legislators who have to decide who it could threaten and how to safeguard the best interest of the public. However, in a time when green energy is the order of the day, can a populous city risk shutting down such an excellent alternative to gas-guzzling vehicles? And if it does, can it even face the state's voters and say with a straight face that they're doing everything in their power to halt climate change? While there are hazards associated with the adoption of scooters, having people who are annoyed with them isn't enough of a reason to stop the march of progress. Developing a framework for the operation of these vehicles and protecting the rights of both the voters and the owners of these scooters should be the main priority when drafting this sort of legislation.