Chicken-Fried News: Scooter clutter

Since the construction of the streetcar began, drivers and pedestrians in Oklahoma City’s urban core have been dodging orange pylons and construction debris, but it’s all in the name of progress.

Another sign in the march for public transportation evolution began popping up in and around downtown last week with the unveiling of 50 electric scooters from California-based startup Bird, according to The Oklahoman.

The dockless, low-speed scooters are unlocked through a corresponding mobile app for $1, and users are charged 15 cents per minute of use. There are no rules where a scooter can be picked up or deposited, but users are asked to leave the scooter near bike racks or easily assessable areas.

It’s a great idea in theory, but in practice, it has been somewhat problematic in places. Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden (a former Lyft and Uber executive) launched a Save Our Sidewalks campaign, which will donate $1 per vehicle per day to a local municipality for a bike lane and safety program and promote pragmatic use of the scooters.

“We have all seen the results of out-of-control deployment in China,” VanderZanden wrote in a company statement. “Huge piles of abandoned and broken bicycles, over-running sidewalks, turning parks into junkyards and creating a new form of pollution.”

Los Angeles and San Francisco have placed limits on the number of scooters placed within the city from Bird and its competitors LimeBike and Spin. Even though scooter pollution in the states hasn’t reached China’s levels, there have been plenty of public displays of annoyance left by the scooters, which many say block sidewalks and endanger pedestrians. Twitter is full of photos of scooters being shoved into trees to get them off the sidewalks and even smeared with excrement in protest of poor parking jobs. CFN wonders how that happened exactly.

As Oklahoma City has been lucky enough to get in on the technological trend early, let’s take pragmatic use so as not to have scooter littering become more prevalent than abandoned Styrofoam Sonic cups.

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