Dockless Scooters for Raleigh


#186

if we were primarily concerned about safety in downtown, we would focus on what is currently doing the most damage. There is no other group of road users besides motorists sending other road users to the hospital in measurable numbers.

the phantom unpredictable scooter rider (used to be a cyclist in this urban legend) that causes an otherwise in-control, law-abiding considerate motorist to lose control and harm others is vanishingly rare. Much more often you get what @Francisco posted above. Motorists driving too fast for the environment and running over other people.


#187

If motorists are out of control, and scooters are out of control, guess who “wins” when their behaviors collide? Policiing of bad behaviors obviously needs to happen with cars, but it also needs to happen with scooters.

As for the notion that it’s somehow a “phantom” scooter rider couldn’t be a more inaccurate description of the truth. It’s actually happening. I have seen a lot of very chaotic behaviors by riders on the streets and on the sidewalks. I’ve seen groups on scooters weave in and out of stopped cars at traffic signals as they crossed against the signal at intersections. I’ve seen them treat sidewalks and pedestrians as an obstacle course at speeds way too high for that context. I’ve seen them weave on and off the street/sidewalk/bike lanes to get around rush hour. Is it everyone? Does everyone behave like this? Certainly not. Is it enough to warrant a measured response? In my book, absolutely.


#188

I’m also carless. Live in West, work in Charter Sq off Fayetteville. While I charge Birds, I own a OneWheel that’s replaced my car essentially. My fiance does own a car to get to North Hills more conveniently daily but I’m not adding to the car traffic downtown personally on a daily basis. I do miss driving my car here and there, but overall I’m 99% happy not owning one.

Side note, but relevant, my fiance and I were rolling (me on my OneWheel, her on a Bird) over to The Station to meet with friends for a bite to eat and she was nearly hit by a driver that wasn’t paying attention and almost ran a red light. The driver slammed her brakes on and came within 6’ of my fiance. We all need to be defensive and assume the other drivers/riders aren’t paying attention. I do this at every intersection regardless of the color of the light when I’m on my OneWheel or driving (her car). Stay safe out there, guys!


#189

I’m curious, if the electric scooters are considered the same as a moped, is a OneWheel in the same class? Is there a number of wheels in the definition? This is somewhat of a lighthearted question, but interested if anyone knows based on the classification definition?


#190

I guess we need Segway Cops to chase down lawbreaking scooter peeps?


#191

There was a scooter left in the middle of the road on Dupont Cir this morning. Why???


#192

If you have been reading my posts regarding (especially) the couplet one way roads downtown, you’ll notice that I am a proponent of reducing the speed limit, but improving the calibration/sync of the traffic signals so that people who maintain a lower speed are rewarded with making the series of lights as they move through downtown.

What happens now is that the lights are almost sync’d, but not quite. This causes people to speed up to make the next light, and more to make the next light, and so on. Eventually a light will catch someone, or that person runs the red light while speeding. Wasn’t the recent cars/pedestrians accident this weekend the result of someone speeding and/or running a light? :thinking:

That said, regardless of what we do with cars, short of eliminating them altogether, it doesn’t address the hazard of electric scooters doing what they want, where they want, without rules or consequence. And regarding the phantom bike narrative being used, there are TONS more scooters on the streets and sidewalks than there ever have been bicycles. It’s not even close. These scooters are also motorized and traveling at much faster speeds. Deflecting to issues with cars DT isn’t going to make new problems caused by the scooters go away.

We have to address all transportation issues, not just cars and not just scooters. With DT growing and more people on the streets, even pedestrians are going to have to get with the program and change some behaviors because DT streets aren’t empty like the used to be.


#193

As a huge proponent of the last mile ride share concept (electric scooters in this context) this kind of behavior irritates me to no end. I really want to believe that human kind in general is responsible and considerate of others, but it seems the irresponsible outliers overshadow those citizens that are doing their part in supporting this new transportation option. As a Bird charger/mechanic, I’ll often stop and pick up scooters that are sprawled about, fallen over, etc. While I’m not suggesting it’s the good samaritan’s responsibility to clean up after the others, the act in itself could spread more good deeds for those observing.


#194

Yesterday, I finally had my “almost got hit on the sidewalk by a scooter” incident. Then used it this morning, on the street obeying all traffic laws, and really see these things as such a nice convenience.

A part of me thinks that over time, the respect will start to take shape because one day, I’m a pedestrian and another, I’m a scooter rider. Raleigh just needs to get used to it right now and over time, the bad behavior may be curved some.

or maybe I’m just hopelessly optimistic.


#195

I’m trying to be optimistic in the sense that it’s just a novelty right now, and it will eventually become a transportation mode that people use responsibly. However, as long as there are preteens and teenagers that are allowed to go unsupervised (and use scooters despite the “rules”), there will always be problems because these things are basically toys on steroids and there are no laws governing them.

I’ve seen several really young, unsupervised riders in the last week, and they’re the scariest riders of all. Two were zig-zagging across both lanes of Whitaker Mill on Sunday, completely oblivious to the cars behind them. It was scary for me as a motorist in this case. I had no idea what they were going to do next.


#196

I wonder how younger kids manage to use Bird. You need to have a drivers license and credit card to use Bird and they want you to take a picture of it or type in the details. Their parents must be doing the sign up for them.

I am most excited about Bird etc because it is drastically increasing the constituency for two-wheeled light transportation. If we can weed out and/or discipline the bad apples abusing the system and avoid getting banned outright, this constituency could build into a powerful interest group, and the city might pay attention and actually get serious about building adequate facilities and re-allocating road space away from cars where it matters.

I think that a big reason why some people are so hot to ban them is because they realize it’s so popular that it really has the potential to shift the paradigm for in-city transportation, and they feel threatened by that.


#197

Yesterday evening was my first time being downtown around rushhour since the scooters hit the streets. Overall, I was happy to see they were pretty well out of the way (with one exception). The thing that struck me was seeing a young professional woman riding the scooter in the street (obeying traffic rules) with the mass of cars rushing by her at speed. I was terrified for her safety and hope she got where she was going OK. While I agree that these don’t need to be on the sidewalks, some kind of separation from the moving cars is needed on the busier streets. (Edenton Street is where I saw this brave lady on the scooter.) I am still not a fan of these things, and hope it is just a fad that will die away with time, but really glad to see they are not in the way like I had imagined them to be. HOWEVER, the ones I have seen littering the streets outside of DTR… that is another story.


#198

I am not sure that I understand how people would feel threatened by these scooters if they did no harm. They are cool. They are fun. The bring a vibe to the city. These are all positives. But, the issues need to be addressed or Raleigh will follow in the path of other cities and kill the program. We can’t ignore, or wish away the problems. They have to be addressed.

On Bird’s website, they are clearly mapping what they think needs to happen, and what their guidance and programs entail, but I am not certain how that’s communicated to the riders. Let’s face it, people aren’t going to read that shit. They are going to do what they need to do to sign up as quickly as possible and then ride.
Bird generally says not to ride on sidewalks. They say not to block public pathways. They say to park scooters in bike racks where available. They say that you must be 18 years old with a valid driver’s license. These things aren’t happening with enough consistency.

If scooters are used responsibly as transportation and not purely for amusement, then great.
If adults did not rent them for their unsupervised children (good luck with that), then great.
If the city put rules in place and had a campaign to inform and enforce those rules, then great.
If the companies could actually solve the conundrum of the scooters strewn about without regard to access to infrastructure like sidewalks, then great.
If the city implemented a requirement for bike racks to be provided at all new widened sidewalks for new projects, then great. If they used the dollar per day per scooter to provide more bike racks in targeted areas, and implemented a public education campaign, even better.
Until then…


#199

Given how popular they are, it’s hard to imagine the city killing them. Raleigh is the perfect sized city for scooters.


#200

I think they’re wonderful but the neighborhood app has more than a few folks perturbed about their placement – I guess by the individual chargers - in the easement in front of their homes, i.e., the grassy area between the sidewalk and the street.

Not sure what the fix would be …


#201

Directly from the Bird website:

Where to Park

  • Park Birds out of the public right of way — keeping walkways, driveways, access ramps, and fire hydrants clear.
  • Park Birds close to the curb, facing the street near designated bike or scooter parking areas, trees, or street signs.
  • Make sure your kickstand is securely in the down position so that the Bird stays upright.
  • Avoid uneven surfaces like grass, gravel, rocks, or inclines.

#202

I’m thinking that some folks don’t realize the strip between the sidewalk and the curb is in the ROW - that it is not “their” property no matter how much they landscaped it.


#203

And Bird’s own website tells its riders not to park their scooters in uneven surfaces like grass, gravel, rocks, or inclines…the very things that are usually found in the ROW.


#204

I’ve thought about this a bit more.

Standard Mopeds are typically 1500-3000 watts (2-4hp) and are governed at 30mph. Birds and Lime E-bikes are 250 watts and governed at 15mph. Clearly there is a big difference.

I think any powered two-wheel vehicle meeting the following criteria should be treated the same as a bicycle under the law.

  • Under 300 watts (4/10 horsepower)
  • Limited to 15mph during powered operation
  • Registered with the city
  • Ridden by a person 16 years or older

This would mean:

  • No helmet requirement
  • Ability to use the sidewalk outside of downtown, but some restrictions downtown
  • Permission to use bike lanes
  • Permission to use greenways
  • Must always yield to pedestrians on greenways and sidewalks
  • Must be parked appropriately

I would possibly entertain a lower age limit (14?) with the requirement that riders under 16 must have a helmet for consistency with the city’s bike helmet law.


#205

NOPE!!! One of the rules of the greenway system is no motorized vehicles. The running community will fight to enforce this. I have personally called RPD to report motorized vehicles on the greenways while I was out running. This has accident/lawsuit written all over it.