These E-Scooters Need to Be Stopped, And We Know How to Do it
On St. Patricks Day, former Uber executives and venture capitalists began dropping electric scooters on the streets of San Francisco like locusts. They didn’t ask anyone’s permission (which is the Uber business model in more ways than one), they just started dumping e-scooters into the Financial District and near commuter hubs. So while people were celebrating Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, Tech execs were busy driving e-scooters into ‘San Fran’ at a top speed of 15 mph. Naturally, there are some problems. You don’t introduce an invasive species into a city without upsetting the habitat.
There are three main companies dropping electric scooters around town. First, there’s ‘Bird’ scooters run by an Ex-Uber Executive who allegedly stole valuable documents from Lyft, before defecting to Uber (he sounds like a great guy). Then there’s ‘LimeBike’ (the ones that look like Sprite cans) run by a couple venture capitalists, and then there’s ‘Spin’ who are the scrappy upstarts and the only ones actually based in San Francisco. Combined these companies have more than $200 million in funding, they’re for-profit, and as of now they are largely unregulated by the city because the city literally doesn’t have any laws on the books mentioning ‘e-scooters’.
But City Hall is doing its part, Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced legislation that will let the MTA regulate electronic scooters in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, State laws do apply to electronic scooters in SF. Meaning you have to be 18 years old to ride one, you have to wear a helmet, and you have to use bike lanes (not sidewalks). Naturally, we have some suggestions on how to regulate e-scooter users now, while the city works on getting proper laws on the books:
Scooter Rule # 1
You have to wear a helmet
Penalty for breaking rule #1:
You have to wear a helmet and dress like this little girl for 1 week.
That’s right. If you want to ride around on public property without a helmet, you’re free to do so. But if you get caught or fall off your scooter you then have to wear white stretch pants and a child-sized bike helmet everywhere you go for one week. If you dress like this anyway, then you’re in luck, no one will notice. But if you don’t typically wear velcro shoes and elbow pads, you’re going to be in real trouble. Everyone at work will know that you didn’t wear proper safety equipment, and worse yet, they’ll know you rode an e-scooter.
Scooter Rule #2
You can’t ride your scooter on the sidewalk
penalty for breaking #2:
You have to clean up poop on that sidewalk
That’s right. On whatever sidewalk you are caught riding your e-scooter, you then have to spend the night cleaning that sidewalk of ALL human poops. This could be a lot or a little. But let’s face it, it’s probably going to be a lot given San Francisco’s poop problems. If you’re spry enough to ride a scooter designed for an 8-year-old, you can jolly well work a pooper scooper too.
You can’t obstruct sidewalks, doorways, or bus stops when parking your e-scooter
Penalty: You have to admit on television that you are an asshole.
That’s right, when you leave your scooter in a place that obstructs others you will have to then admit to the world that you are an asshole. There will be a segment on People Behaving Badly every week, with clips of scooter violators simply saying, “Hi my name so-and-so, I ride an e-scooter, and I am an asshole…back to you Stanley.” Punish a couple of these dummies like that and I bet they’d start parking their scooters properly.
By the way, the 3 scooter companies all operate basically the same way. Their customers use mobile apps to lock and unlock scooters, they all charge $1 to start and then 15 cents a minute afterward, and when you’re done you can leave the scooters anywhere you like…which is what is causing the main friction, a lot of people are tripping over these things on the sidewalks or while getting on and off buses, they are currently lying on sidewalks all over the FiDi.
So if you do insist on riding a scooter like an elementary school kid, at least try not to park it like one. Oh! And realize you are being made fun of, every day. You, are being laughed at, because you are an adult riding a child’s toy to work. Scooter riders are the only commuters that rollerbladers have a right to make fun of. So good luck with that, and remember to park your scooter responsibly.