Tuesday, January 29, 2019
The article "Beyond the Scooter Rhetoric" presupposes that the decision to ride a scooter or not is to be made by some sort of collective authority. From there it goes into a long song and dance as to the effects of scooters on energy efficiency, time savings, health benefits, injury risks, greenhouse gases (!), public transport, motor vehicle congestion. Then it presumes that some "proof" of all these effects is required. Finally, it presents a table of "results" which purports to demonstrate this. There are a few problems with this whole approach.
The table itself isn't particularly clear as to what's trying to demonstrate. After some time puzzling about it, I concluded it's intended to compare scooters against other modes of transportation. It seems to show scooters seem to be preferred, followed by bicycles and walking. Automobiles and public transportation seem less preferred than anything else. This is very odd as the previous sentence suggests that scooters have none of the indicated benefits! Sorry, it makes no sense to me.
But that's not my major complaint with the article. I dispute:
(a) The presumption that the two writers can know what is the best way for other people to get around town in the course of their daily life.
(b) That it's a public decision at all. Their "conclusion" is that "cities and communities should firmly exercise the authority to control how, when, and to what extent e-scooters are introduced and demand that e-scooter companies (1) provide information about, and fund unbiased research on, the issues discussed in this article."
No they shouldn't. It's not inappropriate that authorities make rules regarding public safety, use of public space for parking vehicles, etc., but with these narrow exceptions. Whether or not to rent and ride a scooter, ride my bicycle or walk or crawl on my belly is not the authors' concern.
For some inexplicable reason the authors have great concern that someone is "poised to make enormous profits based upon access to our communities." That's no justification for inserting themselves into decisions that they have no legitimate interest in. They can do what they want — let the rest of us do the same.