Minnesotans on e-scooters | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minnesotans on e-scooters

For better or worse, how have e-scooters changed your life?

    “Annoying! As a driver and a walker, I have had to dodge scooters on the road, on walking paths, and on sidewalks. Many riders do not seem to know what they are doing. As a physician, I would like to see these scooters banned due to high risk for serious injuries.” — Lori

    “Walking on city sidewalks has become decidedly more dangerous with scooters both for riders and pedestrians. In contrast to bicyclists, scooter riders rarely use helmets, too often use sidewalks sometimes in groups of three and with these quiet electric fast machines pedestrians are put at risk. Unless state law is enforced emergency rooms better be prepared.” — Ron

    “I think they are amazing, all things considered. I am definitely biased though; I am a bicycle racer and former motorcycle fanatic so two wheels is life to some extent for me. Not all scooters are created equal either. Try riding a Lime then ride a Spin. You'll notice the handling of the Spin is much, much better due to a lower handlebar. Certainly helmets should be worn by riders as they go just as fast as a bicycle but handling characteristics are far worse. Scooters can certainly benefit from improvements in tires and overall handling. As far as injuries go, with improved functionality on the scooter's end I think that should help, but people need to have some common sense. Some of the people I have seen ride these things — oh boy — please don't. It ain't gonna end well. One more thing — I so wish these were around when I was a kid of 13+ or so. Sick wheels!” — Christopher

    “I have almost been run down by scooters on the sidewalks in St. Paul, in particular along Kellogg Boulevard between Lowertown and the Science Museum. Via the Saint Paul Government website, I asked about liability if I get injured by one of these scooters. I assume they thought I was being facetious since I never got a reply.” — Janet

    “While walking my dogs in uptown Minneapolis I was told on two different sets of teens riding on the sidewalks the following: One group told me that I needed to move off the sidewalk or they would hit me! The second group told me move or something will happen to you. One group was girls and the other was boys. I informed them they were not to be riding on the sidewalks and refused to move! Furthermore, most drivers of scooters do not obey stop signs and fly directly through intersections.” — Sharon

    “For worse: The majority of scooter users fail to obey traffic law and seem lacking in basic common sense as they weave back and forth onto sidewalks, into the bike lane, traffic lanes and cross intersections. The lack of visibility of users (black clothes and small vehicle size) on top of erratic behaviour is almost asking for an accident to happen.” — Diane

    “I don't tend to have much of a problem with people riding the scooters, most people seem to ride them fairly responsibly. I do get frustrated by what amounts to "scooter litter" all over the cities. If people left their personal scooters where they leave these rentals, I think many more people would be upset by them. Though I am tempted to blame the users, the real problem is with these companies providing zero infrastructure for the use of the scooters. The convenience of dropping scooters wherever you want benefits the companies most of all and inconveniences the rest of us. I am also skeptical about the mobility benefits. I do believe they serve as a useful mode of transportation for some, but I would rather see Minneapolis and St. Paul do business with companies that are interested in actually improving our transportation infrastructure, not simply using it for profit at the expense of the cities' residents.” — Jacob

    “I am bothered by the fact that people park them on the sidewalks on residential streets. I encounter scooters parked in front of houses frequently when walking around St. Paul. I would like to see designated scooter parking stations similar to the Nice Ride bikes.” — Chris

    “They are great for travel if you are from out of town. Especially in cities where parking is scarce. It saves money for travelers so they don’t have to keep pulling their car out of the parking ramp. But the bike lanes are key. Having good paths that connect will help out with this. Smooth roads do, too. Rode them in Indianapolis and Washington DC. The helmet is a challenge because you typically don’t think to travel with them. I normally wear a helmet with a bicycle.” — Patty

    “As a pedestrian, I have come close at least three times to being hit by the scooters which were being operated at full-speed on sidewalks. I am amazed at the speed they operate with the riders wearing no helmets and oblivious to the risks they voluntarily undertake. I wish there was more information made available to riders regarding the rules and risks.” — Patti

    “I am a Lowertown resident. To date I have no issues with e-scooter riders given the current level of use. I enjoy them for short hops around the hood. However at 66 years old I probably shouldn’t be assuming the risk. They are fun and the phone interface is very well done.” — David

    “I almost never see people riding them on the street. I’d rather the scooters go away and we stick with the city bikes. If people want small motors on the bikes, I’m good with that.” — Emily

    “They're trash. They make bike and pedestrian lanes less safe. People riding scooters are generally less considerate than other users of paths and walkways. I really don't like them.” — Jonathan

    “I hate them so much! I think they are ridiculous. The bikes weren’t so bad, at least people rode them on the street. I’ve seen scooters zip down the sidewalk where I was walking with my two small children. I don’t want to have to be afraid of getting knocked over — if I wanted to get hit, I’d walk in the road!” — Eve

    “They make life much worse. They’re at minimum a nuisance, but in reality they a hazard. People leave them everywhere making it hard for people with disabilities to get around. People ride them on sidewalks where they run down pedestrians. In the streets where with a general disregard for safety their users criss cross the road without bothering to take account of their surroundings. People ride them two at a time. Kids ride them. They get in the way of bikes. It’s just plain dangerous. Why should our safety be sacrificed so Lyft and other companies can make money.” — Ian

    “They are horrible, especially by the U of M. People use scooters distracted, unsafely, drunk, doubled up. When they get off, they promptly leave them wherever and are sometimes left in the road, where they can be run over. They are left in many sidewalks making it even more difficult for anyone to walk the streets and even more difficult for people with physical disabilities.” — Jadin

    “Scooters are great! They help people with mobility issues, they add another non-car option to transportation spaces, they can use clean/renewable energy. There needs to be more infrastructure to protect pedestrians/bikers/non-car people, and there definitely needs to be more cohesive education for safe scootering in the city — I was almost hit while walking on the sidewalk the other day! But in general, e-scooters are a good thing.” — Nellie

    “I like them, but I don’t like how a lot of people ride them on sidewalks, which is prohibited. Also, I’ve yet to see a cop pullover a scooter rider for disobeying this ordinance.” — Matthew
    "For the better. I use the scooters during my commute to and from my parking ramp in downtown Minneapolis. Plus, the biggest 'better' I've seen the scooters do is provide a low-cost (green) transportation option for low income neighborhoods, and people." — Roxanne
    "I have taken scooters about 2 miles through downtown and love them, in a similar way I loved the Car2Go services a few years ago. Being able to ride to any destination and not worry about a docking station (like NiceRides, even the dockless ones, need) is a huge relief. I do think that this is a time of struggling to train people on proper etiquette and safety. I disagree that people are ultra inconvenienced by scooters any more than other sidewalk paraphernalia or bad design — they are just the newest thing and therefore are being talked about. I love how we are talking about some injuries from scooter related crashes, but drivers hit cyclists all the time and it's just seen as a run-of-the-mill risk taken by cyclists." — Jessica
    "The presence of the scooters has basically just added a distraction to my life. I have had to move a lot of them. People leave them on the sidewalk, in the middle of the walkway. People in wheelchairs can't exactly go around them, and visually impaired people have a hard time when encountering them. They are quite heavy, I try to at least move them off to the side so that nobody has any problems with them. About a week ago, I had to move two of them to help a bus driver dispatch his wheelchair ramp, because they were in the way. This was on Nicollet Mall, there was a cluster of scooters right where people would ordinarily board the bus. I saw a rider fall off of one in the middle of a crosswalk at a busy intersection (no helmet). He seemed fine, but it was kind of scary. When I'm driving, it causes some stress. For example, yesterday I was driving on a side street and three people were on scooters (no helmets) in traffic, going about 15mph (I had no choice but to match their speed). I wasn't in a hurry, but it would have been nice if there was somewhere else for them to go. The sidewalks aren't really a good option, because they get in the way of pedestrians. I don't think the city of Minneapolis is positioned to develop the necessary infrastructure for scooters to have their own safe road. I think that more alternative transportation options are inherently good, but the execution of the scooters doesn't seem to have been done with safety or being a good neighbor in mind." — Cynthia
    "I got a concussion and a trip to the ER in an ambulance the first time I rode one. I would ride one again someday, but not without a helmet!" — Julia
    "Worse. They frequently block sidewalks and bike paths where I go running. I often run with a stroller and it is difficult to get around them. Riders on the scooters often take them on the sidewalk, because it is dangerous to ride them in the street, but I have been hit or nearly hit by several scooter riders not paying attention. I have also nearly crashed with riders leaving the road to park on a sidewalk without looking for foot traffic. I'm all about other ways to get beyond cars, but the scooters are a terrible solution. I miss the nice ride bikes. So much safer for everyone." — April
    "The event I'm describing took place in Minneapolis at the intersection of 10th Ave S and 25th Street. I was coming out of work and a young man/teen was zooming down middle of 10th Ave S heading north and straight into the intersection not looking at cross streets or anything. A car was coming down 25th Street headed west, there is a stop sign but the car did not stop and was going too fast, maybe 25 mph. The back end of scooter just barely cleared the right front end (hood) of car —  just beforehand I saw and braced and gasped thinking there would be impact. Car did not stop nor the scooter rider — car driver unless impaired had to know how close it was." — Mary
    "Most people using a bike or scooter use the sidewalk in front of my house. I live on Lexington Parkway in St. Paul which is a busy street. However, there is a designated bike lane on Lexington and I have not seen people on scooters using the bike lane. When I am out for a walk with my dog I am usually forced to move off the sidewalk when a bike or scooter approaches. They really will not move to the side so I can pass on the sidewalk. I have gotten very assertive about having the right of way but to no avail. It is like playing a game of chicken with people on bikes and scooters. Why do we have bike lanes when so few people use the bike lane? They prefer the sidewalks. There should be a lot more citations for bikers and scooters on sidewalks!" — Jeanne
    "I’ve been very concerned about the scooters’ lack of visibility, especially when used at dusk or after dark. The tail lights are totally inadequate!" — Elena
    "Tried them today. Not for me. Got a tutorial from a patient friend and went over the Stone Arch Bridge two times. I brought a bike helmet. G-D that was scary! I probably won't ever ride one again. They are fine for others if that's what they want. Just not for me (52-year-old woman)." — Gail
    "My nephew who is 34 rented an e-scooter. He hit a pothole. He broke every bone in his face. Broke his jaw and pallet, nose and cheek bones. They could not fix the bones in his forehead and he had to get titanium plates and screws in. Also, had skull surgery. He was unrecognizable. He also had to have a tracheotomy put in. He is recovering now but it is a long road ahead with therapy and more surgeries. These scooters are so dangerous. Why are they in downtown busy areas? Construction and all of the texting and driving is so scary." — Lori
    "On the University of Minnesota campus, they are everywhere — in the middle of sidewalks, being ridden on pedestrian only paths, and interfering with traffic in illegal ways. I hate them." — Tracy
    "For better. As I read the complaints I observe that the issue is more about the scooter user than the scooter itself. It sounds like the problem is that people are being inconsiderate and thoughtless in how they use the scooter. I finally was able to use a scooter the other day and I loved it. I stayed on bike paths and remained to the right of the path, using the same courtesy I would if I was on a bike. Then, I placed the scooter in an area off to the side where it would not be in the way. It is common sense. The problem is people who are inconsiderate. How do we fix that? Get rid of scooters for everyone because some people are terrible?" — Dana
    "While sitting in my car at a stoplight in downtown St Paul, two scooter riders coming down a sidewalk nearly rode them into my car. They managed to stop, barely. One was looking at her cellphone while riding and they both seemed to be novices at scooter riding. This is one more subset with cars/bikes/motorcycles/mopeds/pedestrians on the Venn diagram of “I have every right to be here” and “We all bleed." Folks, let’s take a deep breath, use common sense and stay safe." — Katy
    "... I sometimes wonder if, since in most generations alive today riding a scooter of that design was (to the best of my knowledge) only something you did in grade school, people just go back to that childish mindset of lack of regard for other people or safety. That's how people seem to act on them. People riding them literally ride right up to us (on otherwise empty sidewalks mind you) and stare right at us without saying a word but seemingly expecting that we will move and will drag our dogs away for them. Scooters do have a great promise, but right now the way people use them and their lack of regulation is just a recipe for disaster and the worst form of capitalism — companies making money at the expense of (in this case) the health of people at large." — Marie
    "One day I turned the corner onto a fairly busy St. Paul street and ahead of me was a young man on a scooter who was intentionally weaving back and forth and showing off all over the lane. My car is quiet, so he wasn’t even aware I was slowly driving behind him. Because of traffic in the oncoming lane, I couldn’t pass, and I didn’t want to startle him by honking, so I had to drive behind until I could turn off the block. I got out of that situation without an incident but that kind of reckless scooter driving is definitely an accident waiting to happen. I can’t stop thinking about that kid and wishing there was something I could have done." — Joann
    "They have made my life much worse. I have a brain injury and, as a result, I rarely drive anymore. Instead, I walk everywhere. When a scooter comes up behind me and zooms by, it makes me lose my balance. It’s one of the few things that causes me to lose balance. People are constantly riding scooters on sidewalks. If I fall and hit my head, I’m in big trouble . So, I hate the scooters. They really are limiting my mobility. I cringe at all the under 18 people on them." — Jessica
    I welcome any low-carbon mode of transportation that gets people out of their cars, however, the misbehavior on the scooters is really infuriating. Also, people park them in incredibly inconsiderate ways, and they completely ignore the law about riding on the sidewalk. I also hate how the Bay Area Brogrammers who came up with these things dumped them in Minneapolis before getting proper Council approval. Just shows the level of solipsism that is inherent in these little scooters.
    "Scooters get people out of cars. Cars are the most deadly form of transportation statistically, hands down. A scooter, weighing 40 pounds with a 200 lb person attached, going a maximum of 15 mph, will not kill me. A car, weighing 2,000 pounds and going the speed limit of 30 mph, has a 50 percent chance of killing me. Scooters ride on sidewalks because they feel unsafe with cars. Who doesn't? Scooters should be on roads not sidewalks, sure. But roadways should be safer for scooters, bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and other modes who, by the Complete Streets policy law, come first. I am all for any technology that gets people out of cars and face-to-face with the world around them." — Abigail
    I agree with the arguments for scooters, but I also live by the Stone Arch Bridge. I have never seen anyone wear a helmet on them, even the people legally required to. And it is very, very rare for them to obey the "don't ride on the side walk" laws. I tire of the scooters strewn about that I often move to clear way for the wheel chair users in my building. I tire of being run off the sidewalks and fearing that one day someone will kill my dog when we're walking. The early adopters have been a nuisance and that hasn't been a great thing for scooters.
    "As with other cities that have had e-scooters arrive in, there is a period of adaptation — for cyclists, drivers, walkers, and riders. The banter in Minneapolis and St. Paul is not new, just new to this city. I’ve been riding scooters, shared bikes, hybrid bikes in cities all over our nation for a few years now, with no issues, but it takes time for adaptation in each new city, by everyone. It is a paradigm shift in mobility for me, and I use everything from buses, trains, subways, to Uber/Lyft, rental cars, and taxis. There are obvious risks, but it just isn’t significant comparatively. The responsibility of the rider is paramount, but also responsibilities of others in the use arena is important. Be considerate, and I’ll give you the same. We’ll all learn together. I think it’s a little immature to complain about the scooters themselves as dangerous; it’s users, or perhaps even anti-scooter people that inflate the inconvenience and risk. I do think there is a place for municipalities to assure good business practices through regulation, and it’s incumbent upon each city to be proactive. Cities with mature alternative transportation systems in use, effectively, and safely, are good models." — Wayne
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