Editor’s Note: Well, it looks like our writer, Jeanne, wasn’t the only one fed up with electric scooters cluttering the sidewalks. As of June 4, all electric scooter companies must apply for permits through the city before they can begin operating again.
Have you seen these electric scooters from Lime and Spin that have popped up around San Francisco? They are all over downtown and have crept onto neighborhood sidewalks, where they are left for another scooter rider to pick them up. The premise is no different than a bike a rental – rent a scooter on demand, when and where you want, and for the duration you want. I would have loved to ride one when I was running across campus at San Francisco State. My problem with the scooters are the riders themselves. I have yet to see a scooter rider get pulled over for not stopping a four-way-stop. Like drivers of other vehicles, they need to abide by the laws, too. Safety first.
Here are the three rules I wish every electric scooter rider would follow.
My parents bought a scooter for my daughter Ilse to celebrate her third birthday. Before my husband and I let her ride it outside on the sidewalk or practice in the apartment, we went shopping for a helmet. We talked about safety and why she needs to wear the helmet when she rides her scooter. If only adult scooter riders would do the same! Bicyclists and motorcyclists are required to require helmets and do wear them. Yet, electric scooter riders do not. Perhaps our CA law is little too vague.
Do not leave scooters all over the sidewalk.
San Francisco sidewalks are narrow. In my neighborhood, we have to watch out for dog poop (Dog owners, will you please pick up after your furry friends?), cars coming out of garages, and the occasional construction. With the arrival of the electric scooters, we now have to watch out for scooters, too. Most electric scooters are left haphazardly on the sidewalk instead of perched up against a wall, out of the walking path of pedestrians. Wouldn’t it be great if scooter companies had scooter return stations like the rental bicycles do?
Abide by traffic rules.
Above all else, electric scooter riders should abide by the traffic rules all motorists have to abide by. That means using hand signals for making turns (like bicyclists), making complete stops at stop signs or traffic-light controlled areas, and using bike lanes for traveling. For example, the other day, I saw an electric scooter ride zoom down Powell Street on a red light. The scooter rider could have hit a pedestrian!
I’m all for new ways of having fun, however, some regulation needs to be in place to protect the safety of others. While Lime and Spin request that their riders abide by the rules: wear helmets, don’t leave scooters everywhere, and abide by traffic rules, they don’t mandate that riders follow the rules as a condition of the scooter rental. In the meantime, I will be teaching my child how to use her scooter safely, out of harm’s way.
What do you think of these electric scooters?