It's a lovely summer day. You decide to go out for a walk. Fresh air and exercise. You're walking on the sidewalk, minding your business, taking in the sites of the city; when you hear a noise....BEEP BEEP!! Or maybe it's just someone yelling at you to get out of the way?
You think it's a bicycle, but then you look a little closer. It's an electric scooter!
We're a month into the electric scooter pilot program in Chicago. A group of companies have provided these motorized vehicles as an alternative way to navigate the city. We can always use more ways to get around. The trains are jammed packed with workers. The expressways are worse. Biking sounds like a good idea until you get on one during a ninety-five degree with high humidity day. You get to work drenched in sweat. You're ready to head home and call it a day before you actually start work. Besides using the scooters for commuting, they look like fun and I can picture cruising the town on one. A ride along the lakefront sounds great, doesn't it?
Yep, all this sounds pretty good. The idea is great. The execution not so much...and that's the thought that goes through your head when one of these things almost runs you down...execution!
I saw one of the scooters parked by a train station. When I was checking it out, I noticed it had a card attached to the handle. It was the rules for riding an electric scooter. Hmmm...there are rules? Let's take a peek at them and see how it's going:
. Walk scooters on sidewalks/No riding on sidewalks: BUZZ!!!!
We see these thing on sidewalks all the time. Ummm....that's the reason I'm writing this piece!
. Wear helmets: BUZZ!!!
Most of the folks riding the scooters aren't wearing helmet. Hey, I don't want to rain on anyone's person freedom of choice, but be safe, people! Wear a helmet!
. Park outside of sidewalks by bike racks: BUZZ!!!
I've yet to see one parked by a bike rack. I see them in the middle of the sidewalk, abandoned by it's rider.
. One person to a scooter: BUZZ!!!
There's a lot of tandem riding, with the person on the back holding on tight. The scooters aren't made for two people. Oh yeah, they usually aren't wearing helmets.
. Be alert/ride in bike lanes/obey traffic laws: BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ!!!!!!!!!
The trifecta of breaking the electric scooter rules.
Hey, I don't want to be a killjoy. I know this make me sound like an old man; but in the last month, I've already witnessed more than a few incidents and close calls. It's just a matter of time until someone gets badly injured or worse. And with that....Keep off my lawn!
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