E-Scooters are Back on Streets. Will the Trend Make a Comeback?
I was walking down the street the other day, and saw myself sharing the sidewalk with an unexpected companion. Parked next to me was an e-scooter, and not a Bird or Lime scooter. It was a new company I’d never seen before named “Link”.
In 2019, the streets were littered with sharable electronic scooters and bikes. They were weaving through traffic, zipping past walkers on the sidewalk, and blasting through stop signs. It seemed no traffic laws applied to the scooters, but there’s no doubt they were popular. Different parts of the country were exposed to different brands, but San Diego seemed to start with Lime. Then Bird showed up and became the majority. In the months prior to the pandemic, other brands had become common. Lyft got their foot in the game, as did Jump by Uber. There was also a company named Spin and Razor got involved with the modern scooter game.
When the pandemic hit, it felt as if these scooters vanished. They never truly felt sanitary prior to the pandemic. After COVID cases began to rise, it was viewed as hazardous to be picking up a scooter off the street and riding it around town. As such, there were almost no scooters on the street for the bulk of 2020.
Seeing my first Link scooter reminded me of the traffic that will return as we approach normalcy. Companies are positioning e-scooters for a return to popularity. Part of the reason e-scooters became popular was the fact that they were just there. Every time I set foot outside, I was within 50 feet of a ride. Companies are placing there scooters all over the cities once again. Now that they’re visible in public, will people hop back onto the trend?
The Problem With eScooters
The concept of an e-scooter is designed to emphasize convenience. They’re considered “dockless,” meaning users unlock them by scanning a QR code. Riders can end their trip and put the scooter wherever they desire. It can be on the sidewalk, in a parking spot, or the middle of a crosswalk. In San Diego, they started to paint banks next to the street parking as designated e-scooter parking. This helped somewhat, but it’s not a foolproof system. Plus, it kind of defeats the purpose of riding a dockless e-scooter. If you need to find a special spot to park the…