E-scooters — the good, the bad, and the hilarious
People & Places

E-scooters — the good, the bad, and the hilarious

In February, the City approved an expansion of its ride‐share electric scooter program. With 72,000 people taking 238,000 rides on the existing 600 scooters last year, the program will increase the fleet to 1,500 machines starting this spring.

Before the pandemic paused commuting, “micro-mobility” companies said they would turn dreary bus trips into breezy adventures to work. Opponents called them dangerous at worst and annoying at best. Here, we offer roundup of the good and the bad of the scooter scene — plus a couple cultural notes to build your base of e-scooter knowledge.

Good to know: The apps that allow users to ride their e‐scooters block use of the scooters in busy areas such as parks, points of interest, and packed markets. (So no zooming around Parliament Hill or the ByWard Market.)

The vandalism: In 2018, as scooters were showing up everywhere in the United States, a new hobby takes off on social media: creatively damaging, destroying, and/or dumping e‐scooters. Bodies of water become popular parking spots. Edmonton gets “the scoots” in August 2019 with a spike in arson. Despite this, 2020 is a successful second season for the Alberta capital. Of Ottawa’s 600 scooters during the pilot program, 18 are reported as vandalized, 35 are stolen, and 11 “unspecified incidents” are logged.

The future: Ottawa city council already allows personal e‐scooters to be carried onto the O‐Train. Will shared scooters soon be permitted?

Scoot with care: Scooters left on side‐ walks pose a risk to people with visual impairments or disabilities — or even people encumbered with baby carriages. And hand sanitizer is as essential as a helmet when using a ride‐share scooter.

The hilarious: South Park‘s Mr. Mackey attempts to rid his town of the e‐scooters during a Halloween episode — but the demonic devices keep coming back!

Dumped! Montreal pauses the e‐scooter rollout in early 2020 after their pilot project sees scooters parked in all kinds of unrecommended places: bike racks, garbage cans, the Lachine Canal, etc.

It’s not funny, but it’s Larry: Larry David walks and chats amiably with Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm as he knocks over a row of Bird e‐scooters like dominoes.