No one wants to be stuck on heavy traffic while going to school, work, or even the grocery store. However in urban areas, electric scooters can solve this hurdle. Electric scooters might rise as our next urban transportation, because they are lightweight, capable of speeding up to 15 miles per hour, and are cheaper alternatives to Uber and Lyft. The popularity of electric scooters is booming across the United States, especially in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York; however, many have conflicting opinions about electric scooters being on sidewalks, bike lanes, and roads.
Electric scooters are the equivalent of Razor scooters for adults. Bird Rides Inc., LimeBike, and Spin have covered urban areas with their electric scooters, which has allowed for many workers, students, and even tourists to easily rent one. It is really simple to start a scooter. First, find an electric scooter nearby through the app, tap a button to unlock it, scan the QR code and your driver’s license, and finally, you are ready to go.
Starting an electric scooter costs $1 and charges $0.15 per minute, which is affordable for many who travel daily for a few miles. Also, since each electric scooter has its own motor and battery, there’s no extra expense added. Environmentally friendly electric scooters can speed up to 15 miles per hour, which can reduce air pollution and also those who are late for work or school.
Many cities in California currently allow electric scooters to be operated on streets. In contrast, Bird electric scooters are currently the only accepted company in New York. Surprisingly, San Francisco, which had one of the highest usage of electric scooters, recently banned all electric scooters in June because they were being dumped near building entrances, causing many injuries and making sidewalks less accessible for pedestrians.
Even though footboards remind the rider about safety issues such as wearing a helmet, having a valid driver’s license, and riding one person at a time, many do not follow those rules. In cities like West Hollywood and Santa Monica, electric scooters are dumped on almost every block and even in front of Starbucks stores. Furthermore, riders on streets might get injured through car accidents and pedestrians are imperilled by people using scooters on sidewalks.
Joy Kim, a student at Santa Monica College, shared her opinion about electric scooters. “I think electric scooters are perfect for those who don’t own cars but need to travel to their work or school everyday. It’s fun to ride with your friends and I think it’s definitely better to ride one than being stuck on traffic. After I rode my first Bird, I left it on the sidewalk because there was no dedicated spot to leave the scooter. Because there are so many electric scooters being left alone anywhere, I have heard many complain and request to the city about banning them. However I think if scooter parkings appear then it will help riders to easily find them and not obstruct sidewalks.”
Heiyeon Shin, Grade 12
Fairfax High School