Electric scooters: Love or hate them? Here's what you need to know
Scooters used to be toys only for children. Their motorized descendants, however, are now popular among adults.
Last year, Americans took 38.5 million trips on shared scooters in more than 100 cities, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), a nonprofit organization. Those trips accounted for almost half of the 84 million trips – more than doubled from 2017 – taken on “shared micro-mobility” options that also include station-based bikes and dockless bikes.
As people look for ways to get around congested cities faster, scooters have gained in popularity. But their emergence has drawn criticism that the vehicles are risky both for riders and pedestrians.
Some cities, such as Chicago, launched pilot programs for sharing scooters in June, eyeing the potential to ease congestion and pollution brought by cars. Portland, Oregon, launched a 120-day pilot program last year and a one-year program this year that started in April. New York State passed a bill in June to legalize the vehicle, though renting them is prohibited in Manhattan – you have to own one to ride it.
But some cities said no, or at least not now. Last month, Chattanooga, Tennessee, issued a six-month ban of the conveyance. San Francisco and Beverly Hills once took similar approaches. Nashville's mayor called for a ban on the vehicle following the city's first scooter-related death, but the Metro Council rejected the plan - the legislative institute decided to reduce scooter fleets instead.
City officials and residents have conflicting attitudes toward electric scooter. And in many places, its regulation still falls into gray areas.