The other day, the Wedge Live online periodical tweeted out this amusing chart showing technology adoption rates:
It was funny and made me chuckle, but then a week or so later I saw a report from a consulting group that offered a literal version of the same kind of data:
The report was a study released by San Francisco-based Populous, and it really glosses over its methodology, so take it with a few shakers of salt. But inside you see a few charts with some survey results separated out by income and gender, showing “positive” or “negative” feelings about the new shared e-scooters.
And the survey says:
The Wired magazine piece on the report, by Aarian Marshall, has this to say about the breakdown:
The study, which surveyed 7,000-person in 10 cities, found that over half the population in every place studied had a “positive opinion” of scooters in the period between May and July of this year. In some cities—Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles–over 70 percent of residents feel good about scooters. (In San Francisco, though, only 52 percent of respondents supported the things, which might explain all the feces.
Among income brackets, those making between $25,000 to $50,000 a year are the most into the idea, and those making above $200,000 are the least. (One theory, from UC Berkeley transportation researcher Susan Shaheen: lower income urbanites who can’t afford cars appreciate the mobility of scooters, and wealthier residents who do drive find them a street-clogging nuisance.)
It’ll be interesting to see whether these scooters prove to be popular or not in the Twin Cities. I doubt they will be widely used, but in combination with other sharing and “micro mobility” approaches, the cumulative impact could be meaningful.
The scooters are already popular and widely used. Demand far outpaces the artificially limited supply. Check for yourself: open the application and observe how 99% of them have exited downtown by 4:15pm every weekday. We need many, many, many more. My guess is that a few thousand downtown-commuters want to use them, but we only have enough for 200 people.
Good to know. My point was only to compare them to the percentage of people who leave downtown Minneapolis via a personal vehicle, bus, bicycle or on foot.
Saw one left halfway up the hill somewhere around the U of M and west river road. At first I thought someone was out hiking off the path, but then guessed that it pooped out half way up the larger hill. After a few days it was gone.
Maybe someone needs to organize a escooter hill climb?
This would seem like a great thing to go short distances, around downtowns, and around some of the parks. A little less involved than a bike, and less formal and expensive than a Segway tour.
The shared bikes are moving away from a fixed station/platform, so I really don’t see a big difference between scooters everywhere and shared bikes everywhere.
I think finding out which hill defeats them would be fun.
The scooters are great, and widely used. I work near downtown and commute by U of M, and always see at least one person on a scooter on my commute.
They also crowdsourced charging and redistribution of the scooters, which is a pretty cool idea that seems to be working well.
I think dockless sharing of anything on sidewalks is a big step backwards for disability rights. Well-regulated geofencing or the negotiated transfer of public parking space from cars to other modes should be a precursor to approval of this type of sharing. On a windy day downtown last week every sidewalk Bird scooter I saw within a few blocks of 9th and LaSalle had blown over. How do you navigate that scene in a wheelchair or with a vision impairment? The idea that individuals can simply pick up and move an object that blocks the public way implies a lot — being able to see it, the capacity to move it — that is not true for all.
I love scooters but they clearly have downsides. Joseph points out one downside; that they could be left in a position or blown into a position where they block a wheelchair. While that is unfortunate, and will definitely occur, it is an acceptable tradeoff for what the scooters offer, a zero-emissions, traffic-reducing last-mile transportation option. There are many items which can obstruct wheelchairs through carelessness or due to the wind.
There aren’t many other new business models that assume diminished rights for a protected class (people with disabilities) as an acceptable trade-off.
The ADA does require “Accessible Routes” in public spaces. The city council addressed this concern in their scooter ordinance. “When parked or attached as permitted, low power vehicles shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.” The city can impound scooters that don’t comply. At most, scooter-share has the potential to rarely be a minor nuisance for people with disabilities. It certainly is not “a big step backward for disability rights”.
They have the potential to be a big nuisance, but they will not be if riders are careful about what they do with them. My observations thus far are that they’ve been mostly parked out of the way when I’ve seen them. Hopefully riders and observers will pay attention and move them out of the way if they see issues.
Discrimination in access is prohibited outright. The are no rare or minor nuisance exceptions.
Search for the word “reasonable” or “balance” on ada.gov and you will see that there are many grey areas that require a fact-and-circumstance analysis to determine what is reasonable and to balance the needs of the disabled vs. other concerns.
If someone is willing to break the law while parking a scooter, or if there is a high wind, then Scooters may inconvenience someone with limited mobility. I doubt that these facts would be sufficient to show that the City has not met its obligations under the ADA.
The argument you’ve made about scooters blocking access could be made about bikes, cars, patio seating or any large object that a jerk could leave in the sidewalk.
Most mentions of reasonableness and balance in ADA apply to improvements to the already built environment, not prospective developments or new models. New ideas are supposed to be 100% accessible.
The entire business model of dockless sharing involves shifting responsibility from people with some expertise in maintaining the public right of way to people with no expertise of what is reasonable at $1 a pop. Willful blindness is not innovation.
It’s easy to point to individual end users breaking the law but that is the entire business model of “sharing” businesses, the cost of compliance is shifted. Street vendors don’t place their hot dog carts in the middle of intersections. Developers must make the appropriate grades and curb cutouts in new construction. So why should sharing businesses with large capital backing be exempt from full and robust compliance with the ADA?
This very website adopted a mission statement that “streets should empower and include people of all ages, especially the vulnerable and marginalized” 2 weeks ago. Is it empowering to leave the right of way to the least common denominator of behavior of somebody with $1 thinks it should be?
I’m an advocate for geofencing or private parking for dockless sharing services. I can find you a hundred arguments from open streets advocates complaining about cars getting “free” parking from cities that is in no way free. Well, scooter parking that impedes the public right of way for the disabled is in no way free. Implying otherwise is willful blindness.
Thank you for the well-reasoned response. I see your point and I agree that scooter companies should be in robust compliance with the ADA. Perhaps we disagree on the number of right-of-way blockages that could occur before the scooter companies are out of compliance. I think there is some non-zero number of blockages that can occur before the ADA is implicated. A single scooter blocking a curb cut is not sufficient to damn the entire business model, and I don’t see an ADA issue even if it happens occasionally. For example, when an elevator breaks, is a building out of compliance? Probably not, provided that the service outage is promptly addressed and not unreasonably frequent.
If the scooters were frequently blocking the disabled then I would agree with you, however I’ve yet to see a scooter parked inappropriately, and I spend nearly 24 hours a day downtown and I enthusiastically look for scooters. Furthermore, the scooters are (sadly) limited in number and only deployed for about 14 hours a day, during that time; they are rarely idle enough to create more than a temporary disruption. We should not over-regulate the scooter sharing businesses to address a social harm that has not yet materialized.
Perhaps you are aware: Bird forces users to photograph their scooters at the end of the ride do document their appropriate parking. I think it would be reasonable to force Lime to incorporate this feature also.