Like them or not, several hundred new electric scooters are permitted to hit the pavement today as part of a city-wide initiative to increase their availability, sans (hopefully) another "scooter-geddon."
The Chronicle reported yesterday that, as part of an experimental initiative, three e-scooter suppliers – recently-unionized Spin, Lime, and Uber-owned Jump – could, up to today, only flood the streets with 500 units each. (A notable omission from this list is Bird, the troubled like-industry venture which recently laid off a number of Bay Area employees earlier this month.)
However, starting today, each of those three aforementioned companies has the ability to secure another 250 unis to their fleets, amassing for a grand total of 750 more e-scooters to aggravate pedestrians, bikers, (politicians!) and drivers alike in SF.
“I would say so far, not bad, compared to ‘scooter-geddon’ of last year,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin about the fairly new program earlier this year to the Chronicle, nodding in agreeance that 2018 was a troubled year for the zero-emissions mini-motorcycles. “Although there is still some sidewalk riding and still some injuries, all in all, the rollout has been going well.”
Today's deluge of new scooters are slated to populate the neighborhoods mentioned below:
- Mission District
- The Castro
- Western Addition
- Bayview Hunters Point
- Outer Mission
- Areas outside San Francisco State University
A litany of cautionary red flags remain unanswered or still in murky waters: What will be of these batteries when they're deemed dead? How will these e-scooter companies be held accountable for distributing their units, equally? What can the city do to ensure sidewalk safety?
Regardless of those answers, San Franciscans and transients, too, can now expect there to be some 3,250 e-scooters in the city at any point. And by February of 2020, that number blooms to 4,o00; San Francisco will allow another 250 units from each of the three providers come February 15th of next year.
Be safe out there, gang ... and, perhaps, take out the AirPods for a hot second, so you can hear the electrical whine of a speeding scooter to your six o'clock.
Image: Public Domain via Circe Denyer