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Opinion: Scooters are a fun diversion from real transit issues



  Walker Evans Walker Evans   Opinion: Scooters are a good distraction from real transit issues "title =" Opinion: scooters are a good distraction from real transit issues "/> <span class= Photo by Walker Evans

In Columbus, the electric scooter revolution has arrived: Several California companies with four letters (Bird, Lime … "Spin" have not yet arrived) have unloaded several truckloads of them English: emagazine.credit-suisse English:. While the vehicles were flying on the sidewalks of Columbus in July, the vehicles are technically not legal in the state of Ohio ̵

1; but in a few moments more – they seem to be from the drivers Anecdotal evidence that they are in use is warmly welcomed.

And while an amusement ride sounds like a fun excursion on a warm summer's day, it makes sense to limit the boundaries of these vehicles as well as some other factors to consider.

Transport For Some Or Tr Ansportation For All?

It may be an obvious statement, but riding an electric scooter is not a means of transport for all people. They are not for children (need to be 18 years or older to drive), which means they are not for family transportation. They are not for the elderly, they are not for the disabled and they are not for someone with larger luggage (suitcases, shopping bags, etc.). In essence, these vehicles are designed somewhat exclusively for young, capable casual riders.

Also, do not drive these scooters after sunset, which is currently at 8:42 pm. In December this period falls to almost 17 o'clock. This is a data point that can not be true anyway, since the likelihood of driving a scooter in snow, sleet or just colder temperatures is low. And there is currently little information online about how well the batteries of these scooters are loaded (19459005) Private Transportation or Greater Public Good?

Many people were upset – including me – when car2go decided to drop their service from Columbus but a week's notice. But this kind of rapid and drastic change is a natural factor that goes hand in hand with the privatization of an amenity that most traditionally regard as public service. Because of this, bus lines do not change without community feedback, but Uber can demand "surge pricing" if they feel there is more money to be made when demand is highest. This shift to privatization can hurt our most vulnerable residents, as Brook Wojdynski summarized in a commentary to car2go: "As a person who prides himself not to be a car owner, this announcement, with just seven days' notice, is devastating and devastating I will love the fulfillment of car2go, but now, more than ever, I see why public transport is so important COTA, our public transport authority, should never have made such radical changes as the Affect residents with just seven days advance notice. "

But can anyone really rely on driving a scooter to work? [19659005] Probably not. But that does not mean that buzzing around electric scooters can not affect traditional transportation. Let's talk about a hypothetical scenario:

If enough young and non-disabled people distract their transport budgets from options such as bus passes and opt instead to spend it with private e-scooter companies, then organizations like COTA will make less money and lower numbers of passengers (private companies do not have to disclose their passenger information). If an organization such as COTA has to go public to approve a tax hike renewal to continue to support its public service while passenger numbers are falling, then voters feel that their public dollars are not worth this type of service. If a levy fails and the COTA budget shrinks, distances and uptime may require cuts, leaving even fewer options for people who do not have the luxury of other alternatives. The single mother, who brings her children ten kilometers to a doctor's appointment in January, will not drive her family out with an electric scooter when the bus route goes away.

It may sound a bit like the electric scooter could have a negative impact on the bus networks, but the privatization of the transit has certainly affected the public models. Only a few days ago, the New York Times again reported the loss of drivers of the New York subway system, with car sharing companies like Uber having the biggest impact on a declining passenger cell

When Public Transit Can " Do not compete with the free market, then it's not worth subsidizing, right? "

To put it simply, there is no free market when it comes to transportation.

We love to do so American Dream ™ is a system based on individual liberty and choice and deeply rooted in the independence of personal car ownership – but five seconds of research can easily show how much our federal government has done everything from highway construction Towards oil pipelines, car manufacturing has benefited in the last century, stacking the platform hard against public transport.

And if you think that the twentieth-century private car subsidies are a thing of the past, then it's worth exploring, as it's really alive and well in the 21st century. A good local example is the Smart Columbus program, which was funded by a US $ 50 million grant from the US Department of Transportation, which finances both public and private sector transport initiatives. As a taxpayer, we still support the efforts of private companies with new ideas on whether or not we had the opportunity to vote on it.

It should not be forgotten that not all of these crazy tech startups really hurt for subsidies from local governments. In June, Lime raised $ 250 million in venture capital funding, resulting in a business valuation of $ 1 billion. That same month, Bird raised $ 300 million in funding and raised its valuation to $ 2 billion. Both companies were founded in 2017.

How exactly do these scooters work if they are illegal?

"It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission." – Grace Hopper [19659023] This famous quote accurately summarizes the modus operandi of many Silicon Valley startups. Uber and Airbnb have made waves in many cities around the world, entering a market without regard to permits, local laws or variations of state law, and scooter companies are following suit. It's often a great strategy for these companies, because when community leaders act slowly, tech start-ups can build a fan base of early adopters, leaving government officials in the role of the "fun police" stuck trying

In the state of Ohio electric scooters of this type have no specific designation, and they do not quite fall under the categories "scooters" (ie Vespas). or "motorized bicycles" (ie: mopeds). They are not completely people-powered like bicycles, nor are they automobiles.

So the legality is a bit out of focus at the moment. According to a recent Cleveland.com article, licensing would be required if it fell into one of the motorized scooter / bicycle categories and, depending on one or the other designation, would also require titles or marks. No matter, since both Bird and Lime scooters are vehicles with an electric motor, they must not be driven on sidewalks

. But the operation of a motorized vehicle on the road should require technically correct turn signals and brake lights, both of which are missing. Helmets are not required in Ohio for scooters or motorcycle operation, but goggles are required to operate these types of vehicles. At the moment, Bird will send a helmet to registered riders for free, while the Lime website instructs riders to always follow the helmet laws. Neither mention nor glasses on their security pages

Whether or not one of these rules is enforced by the Columbus Division of Police remains to be determined. The city of Bexley confiscated all Bird Scooters from the city streets shortly after they were stationed and referred to violations of the state and city laws. At the time of publication of this article, both Bird and Lime scooters are available for use in Columbus

Across the country, other cities have become active to varying degrees. The Oklahoma City Police Department recently announced that the operation of a Bird Scooter is illegal but has not included citations. The city of Newport Beach in California called for the removal of all Bird scooters shortly after their deployment. Bird scooters were also removed from the streets of St. Louis, but were able to return after receiving approval. The Los Angeles City Administration is considering a temporary ban until the legislation can be settled to regulate the service. And cities like Denver and San Francisco adopt a very proactive approach with a restrictive approval process that allows private operators only a limited number of permits and lists requirements for less-favored neighborhoods.

So … should I stop riding scooter in Columbus

Of course not. If you enjoy riding, you have to do it.

Not too much if they disappear.

And do not forget to use other forms of alternative means of transport.

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