Op-Ed: Dockless scooters are back on the streets of Charlotte today. 3 reasons I’m not excited

Op-Ed: Dockless scooters are back on the streets of Charlotte today. 3 reasons I’m not excited
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Editor’s Note: Lime, a California-based bike-sharing company, rolled out a fleet of electric scooters in Charlotte on May 8. The program was promptly shut down by the city within 24 hours for launching without a permit. Scooter drama ensued with scooter fans flooding the inboxes of city council members with pleas to return them to the streets. Over the last week, the city has come to an agreement with Lime and two other providers — Bird and Spin — that allows the addition of 300 scooters to CDOT’s in-progress Shared Mobility Pilot Program, effective today.

What follows is one writer’s take on the cons of Charlotte’s new electric scooters. Have a different take? Send us your opinion.

As of today, Charlotte is the new home to 300 (city approved) electronic scooters. WE WON! Our email campaign to city council was a success! Lime Scooters for everyone!

Not so fast.


While I love annoying city council members as much as the next guy, I’m not sure these scooters are the best thing for our city.

I know you want to have some fun and re-live your childhood as you scoot through Uptown, but please read this before you jump on the next Lime, Bird or Spin scooter you see.

Here are three reasons why I’m not sold on the new dockless scooters:

1. The rules aren’t clear.

The scooter companies advise riding in bike lanes and on roadways, but the city has set 0 restrictions and 100% of the people I’ve seen riding the scooters (before they were confiscated) were on sidewalks.

So where are you supposed to ride these things? Apparently, wherever the hell you want.

Bike lane? Go for it.

Major roadway? Have fun.

Busy sidewalk? Enjoy slamming into everyone’s ankles.

No one’s going to stop you.

2. They’re a pedestrian’s worst nightmare.

I’m already having trouble running on Charlotte’s sidewalks with the dockless bikes strewn about like trash. Adding 300 scooters is going to make navigating our neighborhood sidewalks feel like a poorly planned obstacle course.

Oh, and just wait until someone gets run down by a distracted (or worse, inebriated) scooterist. It’s bound to happen, and it better not be me.

3. They are death traps.

Lime scooters go a max of 14.8mph, the same approximate speed as a commuter bicyclist.

Seems standard, right? Sure, except most of us have been riding a bike since we were five.

I’m willing to bet 99% of Charlotteans have never stepped foot on an electronic scooter and no matter how easy it is, there will be a learning curve.

The Agenda has already heard from one reader named Nick who got hit by an SUV while scooting back to Uptown after lunch at Viva Chicken.

And don’t think you’re being safe by staying on the sidewalk. It’s a well-known fact that Charlotte has some of the most treacherous sidewalks in the world. Add that to the fact that no one is scooting with a helmet, and you’ve got an accident waiting to happen.

Still think there’s no risk? Then why do California injury lawyers (where Lime is based) have webpages dedicated solely to LimeBike and Lime-S electronic scooter injuries?

If you still feel a need to ride one of these brightly colored death traps, please go slow, avoid busy roadways and for the love of god, wear a helmet.

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