Tucson and Pima County officials seem to embrace many climate-related eco-fads such as the electric street car, the rails of which proved to be a hazard to bicycle riders. On Wednesday, September 4, the city had a pre-launch event to introduce electric scooters, the use of which officially starts on September 12.
This program has not been without controversy.
In a Mar 3, 2019 story (link), Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star noted some comments:
Councilman Steve Kozachik:
“We’re inviting up to 1,500 e-scooters into the most densely populated part of the city, including them in the mix of pedestrians, the streetcar, buses and cars, on narrow commercial streets, and inviting them to clutter sidewalks that are already narrow and active. It’s a recipe for accidents, enforcement obligations and just more headaches that we simply don’t need.”
Councilman Paul Durham:
“E-scooters present an opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions and decrease congestion. I support (the city’s transportation department’s) pilot program because it allows us to conduct a six-month, controlled experiment to determine if e-scooters are right for Tucson.”
Electric Scooters Aren’t So Climate-Friendly After All
by James Temple (MIT Technology Review, link)
Summary from the article:
A scooter promoter claimed “Your ride was carbon-free.” But a study concludes “that dockless scooters generally produce more greenhouse-gas emissions per passenger mile than a standard diesel bus with high ridership [sic], an electric moped, an electric bicycle, a bicycle—or, of course, a walk.”
Researchers at North Carolina State University conducted a “life-cycle assessment” that tallied up the emissions from making, shipping, charging, collecting, and disposing of scooters. (Read study in Environmental Research Letters).
The study concludes:
“…our Base Case calculations for life cycle emissions show a net increase in global warming impact (greenhouse gas emissions) when compared to the transportation methods offset in 65% of our simulations. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that, while e-scooters may be an effective solution to urban congestion and last-mile problem, they do not necessarily reduce environmental impacts from the transportation system.”
Some cities report problems and ban the scooters:
Nashville is banishing the scooters after its first scooter-related death. The city’s mayor David Briley notified seven scooter companies operating in Nashville he was ending the pilot project and banning electric scooters from the streets. We have seen the public safety and accessibility costs that these devices inflict, and it is not fair to our residents for this to continue.”(Source)
First-time scooter users creating headaches and many accidents in Chicago and other pilot cities (Source).
Skip, one of two companies permitted to rent e-scooters in San Francisco, has pulled its fleet of vehicles in SF and in Washington DC after a vehicle burst into flames on a DC street last week. (Source).
CDC report: Nearly half of e-scooter riders in safety study had serious injuries (Source).
A recent study by Consumer Reports shows that at least eight people died while using a rented e-scooter since the fall of 2017, while another 1,500 were injured, including some who were paralyzed. (Source).
Boom in electric scooters leads to more injuries, fatalities (Source).
Scooter Rage Is A Thing Now. Mobility administrators and advocates in the very progressive city of Portland, Oregon, for example, just fished 57 Lime, Bird and Razor scooters and a few shared bikes out of the Willamette River, which runs through the heart of the city (Source).