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Thread: Electric Scooter Problems

  1. #1
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Electric Scooter Problems

    Anybody else live in a city where dockless electric scooters, and electric bikes, are becoming more and more prevalent? Bird, Lime, etc.?

    Where I'm living, until a few weeks ago, you could hardly walk down a sidewalk in the city without having to step over one. They were strewn around everywhere, tipped over, clogging up the sidewalks. Finally the city has set up designated parking spaces, on the street next to the curb, the size of a parking space for a single vehicle, about every block or so, that the scooter companies now have to use.

    From what I've observed is that the scooter companies seem to be obeying the new rules and dropping off scooters in these designated parking spaces. It's a tiny step in the right direction, but not enough.

    One thing I've noticed, unfortunately, is that it's never seemed to be a part of San Diego bicyclist culture to alert pedestrians when approaching from behind to your presence in the first place. In Minneapolis, it's practically universal for a bicyclist to call out "on your left" or "on your right" as one approaches them from behind on greenways and paths that are shared between pedestrians and bikes. Never seen a bicyclist do that here in San Diego.

    The people using scooters in this city never alert pedestrians to their presence either. I doubt they do either in cities where there's a strong bicyclist culture, unless they're a bicyclist who just happens to be using a scooter. They'll zip down the sidewalks going 10 to 20mph, completely silently, and if one were to so much as sidestep a piece of dog crap on the sidewalk, you may have stepped right into the path of a scooter now bearing down on you at speed.

    You're unaware they're coming up behind you, and they're either not paying attention, or if they were, they don't have time to avoid hitting you at 20mph. Which can lead to catastrophic injuries with lifelong disability, or even death.

    No pedestrian ought to be placed in this type of danger while going about their business, simply walking down a sidewalk.

    I've seen a few people wipe out on these scooters, and have heard stories of deaths due to traumatic injuries and collisions with motor vehicles. I've seen teenagers and young adults recklessly weaving through multiple lanes of heavy traffic on city streets at high speeds. I've even once seen a person on a scooter weaving recklessly through traffic while pulling a friend on a skateboard ten feet behind them, who was tethered to the scooter with a rope.

    The boardwalks along the harbor and beaches in this city are also plagued with scooters. There's no stoplights or at-grade crossings for any other type of traffic, and I've seen scooter users utilize the boardwalks as if they were freeways, weaving back and forth between local residents and tourists at high speeds, alerting no one to their presence, constantly but a hair's breadth from inflicting serious injury on dozens of people a minute.

    Right now, these scooters seem to me to be more of a danger and nuisance than anything else.

    These scooter companies have placed down millions of these things in almost every major American city, without consulting local residents or local government, and without any thought or care to the dangers they entail. They've borne no responsibility for injuries, deaths, or property damage that have occurred as a result of their poor implementation.

    To me, these scooters are a plague and the way they've been implemented is haphazard and reckless.

    I think that serious costs and fines ought to be imposed on these companies, and individuals who operate these devices in dangerous ways.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 07 Aug 19, at 17:26.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Where I'm living, until a few weeks ago, you could hardly walk down a sidewalk in the city without having to step over one.
    I counted today. Three minutes on the tram from the commuter rail station to my home for half a mile through a residential neighborhood. Six scooters in random places on sidewalks. And that's with the company first deploying them in this city exactly one week ago. Our city apparently put down ground rules though - for the one company deploying scooters so far; they basically predesignated "non-parking spaces" - which among other things includes all sidewalks less than 5'3" in width - and the company cooperated by working them into their app so you can't sign out of use if the scooter is parked in such a space.

    They're illegal to be driven on sidewalks here. Bicycle paths if present, otherwise they have to go on the road. Interestingly so far haven't really seen anyone riding one on a sidewalk either yet, although supposedly the pedestrian zone downtown is swarmed with them (sorta like the Segway problem they had there 15 years or so ago). For personal safety i'm more concerned about a certain young lady a bit down the street who's almost run over my feet twice with her electric wheelchair at breakneck speed.

    Wonder how many of those scooters will end up carried over and pitched into the local river though. Because that's what people are doing with them in other places in Europe by now.

  3. #3
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Wonder how many of those scooters will end up carried over and pitched into the local river though. Because that's what people are doing with them in other places in Europe by now.
    I've also seen them chucked off of overpasses, into rivers, ravines, gullies, canyons, etc. in two different cities. Sure, they're private property, but when they're such a public nuisance and obstruct sidewalks, often times even in residential neighborhoods, I can't blame people for the impulse to be rid of them.

    A few recent articles on the scooter problem in San Diego:
    City impounds 2,500 scooters during Comic-Con weekend

    SAN DIEGO – Over 2,500 scooters got picked up and hauled off to a City of San Diego impound lot over the weekend.

    They were removed for violating a new city ordinance that prohibits rideshare devices from getting too close to big event areas.

    Comic-Con drew tens of thousands of people over the weekend, many of them deciding to use rideshare devices at some point. Unfortunately, most had no idea they weren’t allowed to bring them near the convention center.

    “We had a geofenced area where we weren’t allowing scooters or bikes to be left by companies or users,” said Jose Ysea, a city spokesman.

    The city hauled them off and charged the companies $65 a piece to get them back. If you multiply that by the 2,500 total, the city stands to make nearly $200,000.

    “We don’t want to make a profit,” Ysea said. “We just want to recover the cost it took to fund the team to go get them.”

    So far, Lime confirmed they have paid money -- roughly $40,000 -- to get over 600 scooters back. The city said Jump has paid to get some of their bikes back too. However, Ysea said Bird has not paid and hasn’t even responded to the city’s inquiry.
    Source: https://fox5sandiego.com/2019/07/22/...c-con-weekend/

    San Diego startup impounds wayward e-scooters
    [...]
    The fresh presence of tens of thousands of dockless scooters for rent in San Diego over the last year has driven some locals absolutely loco. Alexander Curtis, general manager of Woody's, says e-scooter users "drop them off right in front," where travelers and the elderly alike trip over the devices.

    Woody's and neighboring eatery World Famous, however, have their own e-scooter bounty hunters who scoop them up day and night and store them until the Silicon Valley-backed concerns that put them on the street pay up. Borelli teamed up with business partner John Heinkel in January to officially launch a company, ScootScoop, that impounds e-scooters at the behest of private property owners.

    The duo already has 4,500 of them packed in warehouses and garages. Most of the scofflaws pay their bounty, but a few of the half dozen or so e-scooter companies active in San Diego aren't on board.

    "The big ones aren’t playing ball," Borelli said. "They want their product back."

    ScootScoop charges the companies $30 to release each e-scooter. Its freelance workers will also move or stand up a scooter that's blocking walkways or roads. The cost to the scooter firms is $3 to $5. ScootScoop contractors take photos to show their homework.

    ScootScoop is also developing an app where San Diego business owners can drop a pin on a map to alert the "scoopers" to an interloper that needs to be impounded within 24 hours. The pair also hopes to go global by using a model whereby satellite operators pay licensing fees. They say they've already had inquiries from entrepreneurs in Mexico and Australia.

    The duo behind ScootScoop says their business shouldn't be so urgent. At least some of the e-scooter companies' user agreements specify fines as much as $150 for leaving the devices in forbidden zones, including on private property. But they say the rules aren't enforced by the firms for fear of slowing explosive market growth.
    Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-ne...ooters-n973841
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    Overnight waywardness isn't much of a problem in the concept here. The company has freelancers pick em up to charge them overnight pretty much every night with designated zones where they're supposed to put 'em up again in the morning (timeslots between 10 pm and 5 am are locked out for customers in the app to get one for that reason). I doubt any of those six i saw this evening will still be in their place tomorrow morning for example. There are some cities that have introduced geofencing (Berlin for the Brandenburg Gate starting today, some others e.g. for festivals similar to San Diego), but that's always done in cooperation with the operating companies.


    Regarding accidents: In Berlin during the first six weeks after introduction mid-June they had 38 reported accidents involving e-scooters with 7 seriously and 27 lightly injured, in almost all cases caused by the e-scooter driver. Percentage-wise compared to the number of scooters in the city the accident rate so far is comparable to that of cars in Berlin (assuming half of all cars in accidents in Berlin are not Berliners).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    ScootScoop is also developing an app where San Diego business owners can drop a pin on a map to alert the "scoopers" to an interloper that needs to be impounded within 24 hours.
    The city where i work has an online application where you can report any "public nuisance" that you think should be rectified which works exactly like that - drop a pin on a map, add your message, if you want add a photo too. The city's call center does it as a side affair, relaying the tickets to the relevant department of city administration or to the relevant external agency.

    It's used to report stuff like wild trash heaps, defective streetsigns and so on. Just looked through it a bit (it's open to public with anonymization) and no one has reported any scooter nuisances so far - and given the attitude of the people who report stuff there they're sure to pop up at some point. Some other bizarre stuff though, such as a toilet standing randomly on a sidewalk in what most consider the slum of Mannheim downtown next to a busy street or an eviscerated sheep head laying on the street in another part of town...

  5. #5
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    Overnight waywardness isn't much of a problem in the concept here. The company has freelancers pick em up to charge them overnight pretty much every night with designated zones where they're supposed to put 'em up again in the morning (timeslots between 10 pm and 5 am are locked out for customers in the app to get one for that reason). I doubt any of those six i saw this evening will still be in their place tomorrow morning for example. There are some cities that have introduced geofencing (Berlin for the Brandenburg Gate starting today, some others e.g. for festivals similar to San Diego), but that's always done in cooperation with the operating companies.


    Regarding accidents: In Berlin during the first six weeks after introduction mid-June they had 38 reported accidents involving e-scooters with 7 seriously and 27 lightly injured, in almost all cases caused by the e-scooter driver. Percentage-wise compared to the number of scooters in the city the accident rate so far is comparable to that of cars in Berlin (assuming half of all cars in accidents in Berlin are not Berliners).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    ScootScoop is also developing an app where San Diego business owners can drop a pin on a map to alert the "scoopers" to an interloper that needs to be impounded within 24 hours.
    The city where i work has an online application where you can report any "public nuisance" that you think should be rectified which works exactly like that - drop a pin on a map, add your message, if you want add a photo too. The city's call center does it as a side affair, relaying the tickets to the relevant department of city administration or to the relevant external agency.

    It's used to report stuff like wild trash heaps, defective streetsigns and so on. Just looked through it a bit (it's open to public with anonymization) and no one has reported any scooter nuisances so far - and given the attitude of the people who report stuff there they're sure to pop up at some point. Some other bizarre stuff though, such as a toilet standing randomly on a sidewalk in what most consider the slum of Mannheim downtown next to a busy street or an eviscerated sheep head laying on the street in another part of town...

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