Dockless Scooters for Raleigh


I don’t see any evidence that people are primarily using them for joyriding nor would that be a practical use for them. They all certainly seem to end up either outside the food hall or a bar or something like that, so people are getting somewhere. Either way, what difference does it make? Should the city predicate the building of bike lanes on whether people ride their bikes for transportation as opposed to for fun or for exercise?

Bird decided to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. And given how popular they are, you can’t really blame them. The people riding these things clearly see the utility, and given that the people who are riding them are taxpayers and residents and constituents, it now falls to the city to deal with them.

The Boston example is a non-sequitur given that they have viable public transit — rail lines, rapid buses, and on and on, and that the city is comparatively old and enormous. Raleigh has, effectively, no public transportation. And the downtown area is contained enough to make scooters a viable alternative to Uber and Lyft. Why should anyone pay $6 to an Uber to go two miles when they can take a scooter for a $1.50 and not clutter up the street in the process? How could that do anything but benefit a business that has little to no parking?


Seems pretty obvious that what she’s referring to is “things other than driving”.


Raleigh is a very hilly city. The world’s premier bike city Amsterdam is flat as a pancake so you can get where you are going on a bike without breaking a sweat even in the summer. I bike to work every day (4 miles) and have to shower and change once I get there because of how hard I have to work climbing the hills. Having a motor to assist on those hills would be a game changer for many people, and the benefits in terms of reduced GHG and efficient use of space will be the same.


It is the city’s fault! Did you see them vote down regulations for dockless bikes right after the scooter discussion? They’ve been working on dockless bike regs for a long time and have known about dockless bikes for years. They just voted to keep them out of Raleigh indefinitely so they won’t compete with Raleigh’s theoretical bike share system.

Does anyone really think the city would have worked with a scooter company with no user base to create laws to allow their operation and build out space for them? I don’t think that’s a realistic assumption.

The only way anything like this would ever get allowed is by acting the way Bird did. Without thousands of established users to make noise, Raleigh would have banned this long ago if they had thought of it before the scooters showed up.


I know people that drive their cars less and Uber less. I’m not sure if that’s the “facts” you’re looking for, but it’s real data.


Need to go make some popcorn before watching this one.


I’m not suggesting banning them at all. I’m pointing out how it will be difficult to keep people from being jerks on them. With cars, we keep people from being jerks by having licensing and traffic laws that are enforceable. It’s not perfect, but I think it helps a lot of jerkiness from happening than if those things didn’t exist. Much harder in the case of scooters.

I also didn’t say the sidewalks were empty around the Dillon, just the vehicle traffic. That area has a lot more foot traffic these days than it did just a year ago.

Honestly, I just wish people would use scooters respectfully. They are a much better alternative to those same people in moving around in cars.


That’s not what she said. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth to make people believe that what you said, is not what you said. Oh wait, she’s a politician. Never mind.


There is a pro-scooter assertion that these scooters take cars off the street.
All I ask is for the data. I personally don’t think that it currently exists, and presumption is not data on either side.
I can just as easily say that scooters are talking walkers off the sidewalk, or riders out of the RLine, simply because I want to believe that to be true. That too is not data.
All I ask is that we don’t just cave into a private company’s wishes just because we’re enamored by their product. This is especially true when the disruption to the purposeful use of public infrastructure is tossed aside because we like/enjoy/use the scooters.
It might come as a surprise to people here that I don’t want the city to kill the scooters altogether. I just want balance. I am actually a better ally to those who want to keep the scooters, because without restraint/rules, they actually get yanked from cities overnight.


Let’s not turn city council members into master politicians. They’re basically one step above a nosy neighbor.


@John you seem to have very regular responses to this issue that indicate that you “want balance” but I can’t seem to find any suggestions or recommendations in your posts. What would you suggest since you’re “a better ally to those who want to keep the scooters?” I’m just not sure what you would deem “restraint/rules” that would be productive. Honest question, I’d like to understand what would help assuage the angst among the naysayers.


It’d be great to have data, but you also know there isn’t time for it, so calling for it is a cynical exercise. It’s perfectly reasonable to use common sense in the meantime, and the notion that people are using scooters as an alternative to the bus system fails that test.

It might be true to say that scooters aren’t taking cars off the street, but they very well might be getting more people out where in the absence of the scooters they might stay home. The old Yogi Berra line about a place getting so crowded no one goes there anymore comes to mind. But in any case, getting more people out and about is an end unto itself. It’s good for business, and it’s good for people.

This isn’t about caving to a private company’s wishes. It’s about giving people what they clearly want. If public infrastructure is actually being tossed aside in favor of the scooters, perhaps that’s an indication that the public infrastructure project was misguided. The city could easily become a partner in the scooter business rather than trying to force people into some other solution. Bike lanes have got to be cheaper than BRT, for example, especially within downtown (where you can get somewhere on a scooter in the time it would take you to wait for a bus).


I agree, it’s always difficult to stop people from being jerks. In anything. I personally have an abiding hatred of people who stop traffic in parking lots to back into a parking spot. But that’s not a reason to pass sweeping restrictions on driving cars. We should all realize that we tend to notice this jerky behavior and assume it is more common than it actually is.


Actually, I’ve been making sure to notice the good behavior, too. It seems to be increasing (I even saw someone scootering with a helmet this week :open_mouth:). Maybe people are seeing them less as a novelty and more like a tool, which is great.

But the jerky behavior is a problem that needs a solution. I’m honestly not sure what the solution is. If we had one, I think there would be fewer haters, and we wouldn’t be talking about the potential of a scooter ban.

Today I was at Sparkcon in the rain, and there were 2 unsupervised kids under 15 speeding erratically through the festival. They almost hit my dog on leash after coming around a corner. Thankfully there wasn’t a huge crowd at the time. Obviously an adult was an accessory here, but how do we prevent this behavior?

I think it needs to be a partnership between the scooter companies and the city, I’m just not sure exactly what that should look like.


I hear what you are saying about parking lots, but that’s a false equivalency. In a parking lot, all people are either in cars, or walking to and from their cars. They are all there for the same purpose. I too have issues with general rudeness in lots by some drivers. One behavior that particularly bothers me is the person who gets in their car, turns it on, and then proceeds to sit there with their foot on the brake while in reverse for seemingly forever while they are doing whatever they are doing…but not leaving. It’s like some sort of power game that some people play with the driver of the car who’s waiting for the space. Or, they are just completely self absorbed and clueless. Still, it’s not the same thing.

The problems that people have with bad behaviors on scooters is that they are doing things that are either perceived to be against the law, are against the law, or rude to those who have less power (pun intended) on infrastructure that is not intended for fast motorized purposes. Heck, even the scooter websites tell their riders what’s cool and what’s not. If that’s largely ignored by the their riders, well, guess who owns the responsibility?

We also have a history of banning “things” or severely curtailing their uses because we can’t control jerky behavior. If the jerky behavior calms, and it becomes “uncool” to violate behavioral norms, people will stop complaining about the scooters. The scooter riding community owns the solution, because they have control of their own behaviors.


for those asking for it, here’s evidence that about 20% of scooter trips replace trips that would otherwise be taken by car. and that’s in a ped-bike-transit friendly town. Bet its higher in Raleigh.


Actually less than 19% in Portland? I’m not sure that you can either correlate that to Raleigh or presume that Raleigh’s is higher.
That said, I have never said that the scooters didn’t replace any car trips. I am just skeptical that they are primarily used to replace car trips. That data from Portland does nothing to convince me.
As I suspected in an earlier post, the scooters are reported to replace walking more than any other form or transportation. They are also used more for fun, than for any other reason according to the report


Fair enough. Pretty sure some people would be walking if they didn’t have access to a car or bike, too. All transportation is a substitute for walking.


Actually, in suburban model development, there is only incidental walking opportunities. The beauty of urban neighborhoods is that you can walk. I can’t say that walking is a viable option in much of the city.
I’ll also say that, now that we are finally building a walkable experience in Raleigh’s core, with more shopping and residents’ amenities, the last thing that we want to do is make walking a bad experience. This is why I, and I suppose others, are so adamant about the behavior of these scooters in the pedestrian right away.
I spent a week in Boston last week, and there are zero scooters to be found. I discovered that they were almost immediately removed from the streets of the city after being deployed in the same time frame as Raleigh’s. I can’t imagine overlaying the scooters onto the highly walkable & busy Boston network of small blocks and active sidewalks. IMO, we should aspire to have the tight, dense, walkable downtown that Boston has today. The scale of the city’s core is personal, engaging, and invites you to explore it by foot.


You asked for data. How much more data do you need? Does anything convince you?

Since first using shared e-scooters, how has your use of the following options changed?

  • Took a Taxi, Uber, Lyft: 44% Less Often
  • Drove a car: 38% Less Often

And they’re not being used for fun more than any other reason. Yes, most people rode them out of curiosity or fun on their initial ride, but “just for fun” is basically tied with “fastest/reliable” on the respondents most recent ride with the later being slightly in 1st. If you take into account that 18% of respondents have only ridden once, the majority is clearly riding them for transportation.

If you’re looking at the 28% that said riding them “for/recreation” fun being the #1 reason in the other question, then you should be adding up all the other answers as “transportation” at 72%.