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Opinion

Readers React: Not on my sidewalk: How Bird scooters annoy readers and make them condone vandalism

VENICE, CA - July 25, 2018 A Bird electric scooter sits discarded in an alleyway near the Venice Bea
A Bird electric scooter lies discarded in an alleyway in Venice on July 25.
(Los Angeles Times)

For all the talk about our self-destructive dependence on automobiles in Southern California, there’s another, much healthier addiction nursed by Angelenos: We love our sidewalks.

Perhaps it’s because so many miles of these sidewalks lay neglected and buckled by tree roots and heavy use, not to mention the constant threat posed by speeding motorists, that pedestrians feel fiercely protective of the narrow strips that offer them a small measure of protection from traffic. (For the record, this isn’t the first time I’ve noted our readers’ affection for their sidewalks.)

Now another threat to the relative tranquility of using sidewalks has emerged: electric scooters. For months, our letter writers have objected as more of these devices have been found strewn about on sidewalks and other public places; some have shared tales of dodging oblivious riders who whiz along at street speeds. Now the pushback against companies like Lime and Bird has grown more intense, with several readers even writing approvingly of the vandalization of these scooters.

Morongo Valley resident Allan Baker thinks of the scooters as litter:

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The electric scooter firms’ business model is the cause of their problems with people trashing the scooters. The model encourages users to abandon the scooters wherever they happen to be when they are through with them.

I try to be a good citizen and pick up the trash that thoughtless people toss on the ground. Therefore, when I come upon a piece of trash that a thoughtless person has abandoned, including scooters, I toss it in the nearest dumpster.

William Solberg of Los Angeles asks for scooter parking:

I’m willing to give scooters a chance to survive in our urban jungle, but just wait a minute: Since when are some of our leaders so dull that they cannot see what’s absolutely wrong with Bird and Lime scooters blocking safe passage on our sidewalks and littering private property?

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Scooter parking should be better regulated like rental bikes and other vehicles.

Peggy Stone of San Diego feels under siege on sidewalks:

As a downtown San Diego resident, I have gone from a happy pedestrian to feeling that I’m taking my life in my hands if I walk a block for groceries. These things come up from behind, utterly silent at 15 miles per hour — fast enough to kill or maim. I’ve often been missed by inches.

I’ve seen riders running red lights and doing circles in busy intersections. Our only defense is to creep along hugging the buildings while these lethal weapons take over the pavement.

I may not have vandalized — yet — but the impulse is strong.

Santa Monica resident Peggy Aylsworth welcomes the scooters:

This is a perfect example of how something new and challenging stirring up resistance.

I love the Birds scooting around Santa Monica, saving the air from the pollution of gas emissions. What is it that threatens a small amount of people enough to resort to vandalism?

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Anita Roglich of Santa Monica airs a generational gripe:

There is no better example of the self-absorption of millennials than the electric scooters.

They don’t follow the rules; they ride on the sidewalks, they don’t wear helmets, and they leave the scooters wherever (one was left in the lobby of my building). Their immediate goal being to satisfy their own needs when riding the scooters and to hell with all the rest of us.

So if anyone thinks that that generation will save the planet or save us from President Trump, good luck with that.

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