The Era of the Limitless Scooters
People would understand my predicament in Old Europe. In ancient, barbaric days when
local vassals handled petite armies, brute knights frequently swept into villages, stating the
residents subject to new laws and new lords before riding off again with the altering of the
When this newest army attacked my town, it appeared no various than the rest. I had actually
heard rumor of it for weeks, had feared and resented it, had assured friends that its
profession would end as quickly as all its predecessors. But when its foot soldiers finally got
here, I was stunned to find myself charmed. Now, I can not think of life without them.
I speak, of course, of the electric scooters.
I'm getting ahead of myself. It was not report exactly that first alerted me of these
conquerors, but The New York Times. Months back, its heralds revealed that electrical
scooters had actually overtaken cities throughout California. These vehicles appeared like
the Razor scooters of yore, though they had small, zippy, battery-powered engines. You
could lease one with your mobile phone; trip it down the street, around the neighborhood, or
throughout the city; and after that leave, tap your mobile phone, and leave. They cost about
$3 per ride.
They were a public threat, that much was clear. A particular kind of young man-- the type
who might bring a Wi-Fi-enabled water bottle to the climbing fitness center, state-- might be
spotted whirring atop them. In a mad bid for market share, the start-ups behind the scooters
had discarded countless them on city walkways, frustrating San Francisco's cyclists and
intimidating its sorrowful NIMBYs. A stressing story, certainly, however the risk appeared
distant till this April when I found a scooter in my community in Washington, D.C. Hoofing it to
the subway one morning, I caught its shape out of the corner of my eye: unused, teetering, a
putrescent green. Immediately I disliked it.
Why? I asked myself this over the weeks to come. I was tired with br