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?