The micro-mobility revolution that has permeated cities in the US still has to arrive in New York City, but now that they have conquered the West Coast through a combination of rule breaking and eventual cooperation, electric scooter companies want to make a name for themselves in the five districts
As The Verge has pointed out, money can be made there; Bird, a leading scooter company, was reportedly valued at $ 2 billion in recent months. And with more than 8 million residents, more than half of them use public transportation on a regular basis, according to Gil Kazimirov, CEO of Lime, the micro mobility startup, it could be a "massive scooter city." [1
The first two necessities are what sets Bird apart prominently trying to enter New York's market, at the moment seeming to focus on that. The start-up, based in Santa Monica, has wooed politician on both sides of the Ganges, though neither Eric Ulrich (a Republican pushing for full competition among bicycle stock companies) nor Robert Cornegy (a Democrat, who took part in Bird's recent Bed Stuy demo, would voice their feelings about e-scooters, and even grabbed one of the most prominent advocates of road safety, making it clear that he's approaching New York's expansion in a responsible manner, which is usually not accepted by "Break Shit, sorry later" Disruptonauts.
Bird has also attempted to persuade skeptics with demonstrations of how his ministry works – there was one in Bed-Stuy in September, and a beginning of this one Month, which was to show how e-scooters could be a key element of the Internet's looming L-train shutdown Scooter for a mass drive from Myrtle-Wyckoff Station to Grand Street stop, which will be the starting point for a series of Brooklyn-to-Manhattan SBS routes. The demo not only offered a look at how the scooters worked, but also a proof of concept of how they can help put people in the pincers when the trains are full.
The group trip seems to win Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. who liked his scooter enough to throw it in his SUV and appears with it at another press conference this morning in Brooklyn Heights. Before the bird journey began, Adams told the assembled crowd on the pedestrian street of Myrtle-Wyckoff Station – even a symbol to reclaim the streets of cars – that "too many motorists make decisions for millions of New Yorkers who are not in vehicles. Selfishly they think they have to drive alone. "While Adams does not have the power to vote for the upcoming bill to legalize e-scooters, he at least gave her legalization rhetorical support.
These efforts are partially led by city councilor Rafael Espinal, who has announced his support for scooters in a Daily News earlier this year, currently working with the chairman Transport Committee, Ydanis Rodriguez, to introduce a legalization bill. Espinal's interest in the scooter issue is determined not only by her potential usefulness during the decommissioning of the L-train, but also to integrate his district (he represents parts of Bushwick, Brownsville and Cypress Hills) into a transport system of Citi Bike  "What I would like to see is an extension of transport – not just in Manhattan, but also in the outskirts," says Espinal Curbed. "We have Citi Bike, but it has not gone to East New York and other outskirts on the outskirts of the outskirts, we need to make sure this transport is accessible to all."
But while scooter companies host events and work with elected officials Undoubtedly, the subject of security – and aggressive redesign of the city's streets – will determine how far they were supposed to be scooters in New York. While her top speed of 15 miles per hour makes her inherently riskier than bicycles, a Washington Post article on the rise in scooter-related emergency room visits notes that the number of bike lanes in Washington, DC was one of The Reasons why the city did not see the same rate of injuries as other American cities.
Bird himself puts a lot of emphasis on cycling trails and tells Curbed that "sheltered, well-built bike paths are part of our vision for a safer future for all road users – be it on foot, bike or scooter." The company has promised $ 1 per scooter a day in each city it operates to help cities pay more sheltered bike paths. But at least in New York, the resistance against bike paths has less to do with the price and more with parking spots. And on this front, radical thinking seems to be in short supply.
Cornegy, whose district mostly includes Bed-Stuy, told Streetsblog that he would "opt for more sheltered bike lanes" when he was at Bed & Breakfast's Bed-Stuy, but he was also a prominent opponent of Classon Avenue Bicycle lane installed in 2016 in response to the death of a cyclist.
The city's additional cycling infrastructure has not stopped the resistance of the municipalities; New bicycle lanes and other improvements are still the right combination of political pressure. Even Adams, who demanded something as ambitious as a Flatbush Avenue bike lane off Prospect Park, was ambivalent about the relationship between community leaders and the need to move the space away from cars quickly.
"We should never count the votes of people," Adams said after the Brooklyn Heights press conference. "[Community boards’] Advisory status helps out riding bike paths as bike paths are personalized for these communities." It does not mean that a community board can have a veto if it's unreasonable. "Allow the community's forums to have their place, their concerns but at the same time, no one in government can get in the way and stop progress. "
Espinal says that when it comes to New York's existing network," the city can do more to secure the bicycle lanes are acceptable and will not be blocked. "However, he said he would rather see the results of a scooter pilot program before deciding on radical roadside redesigns.
But Curb's urbanism editor Alissa Walker, who has previously written that micromobility gives cities a great opportunity to move away from car centering, says street design "has to be part of a scooter "Without feeling good on the street, people will either not ride scooters, Walker says, or land on the sidewalks – which would not work in New York City.
One idea that the city can implement is the introduction of the Vision Zero Design Standard, a series of pedestrian, bicycle and transportation enhancements that are implemented whenever a road needs to be repaired. "Traditionally, it takes longer to build protected bike lanes than to get a truckload of scooters on the road," says Joseph Cutrufo of Transportation Alternatives. "The best way to accommodate more people with bicycles and scooters is to make roadway redesigns safer with regular relocation projects, so every time we rebuild a road, we'll be able to make our two-wheeler streets more welcoming to New Yorkers and, above all, save lives. "While Cutrofo says the idea was favored by a majority of members of the City Council, it has not yet been introduced in road conditions.
As a roller agnostic / skeptic, Bird's demonstration had an impact on me earlier this month: The bulk of the riders did not seem to have much of a problem with Bushwick's roads, barely drivable on some tracks, especially the heavily laden and pockmarked Knickerbocker track and Morgan Avenues north of Flushing Avenue. If you squint, you could see a vision of the future in which people used the scooters in peace, though they were lucky in clear bike lanes and a lack of double-parked cars in side streets.
And while some are worried that scooter companies "impose their will" on the city, the fact remains that automakers have already enforced their will in New York in a way that e-scooters could never go together. Besides, if you are on the street, you can already see the scooters there. On the same afternoon as the Bird demonstration, I saw a scooter driver on Ann Street, just blocks from the town hall. Later, I came across an e-scooter driver named Mike as I walked down Flatbush Avenue.