Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Irresponsible Scooterists

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Irresponsible Scooterists

These photos of the corner of Wolfe and South Union Streets span two days, this past Thursday and Friday.

These photos of the corner of Wolfe and South Union Streets span two days, this past Thursday and Friday. Photos by Hal Hardaway

The first photo shows scooters dumped in a liriope bed, abutting the street. To digress a bit, planting areas like these are generally the responsibility of the city, which lets them lie fallow and derelict Because of that, homeowners' associations and businesses have stepped up to improve these areas. In these photos, it was a homeowner who footed the bill for the liriope.

That scooterists would dump the vehicles like this is testimony to the irresponsibility of the ones we see in Old Town, be it stationary or moving.

Friday evening while walking across the intersection of North Lee and Queen Streets, was beset by what looked like a swarm of fire ants, as all five scooters ran the stop sign and darted around me in the crosswalk.

Back to the photos, it was entertaining, in a way, to watch how these two scooters moved about over the two days. I'm guessing it was the actions of both scooter proponents and opponents, judging by the positioning.

You might say two scooters in a plantbed are small potatoes, and that's true. But scenes like this are being repeated over and over in the big scooter scheme.

We could contact dockless.mobility@alexandriava.gov, which is an addee on this email, to file a complaint, but no doubt the answer would be "Call the scooter company."

That's really worked, has it not?

But then the police were going to enforce scooters. Last time I looked the police have their hands full already.

An unsubstantiated rumor is the city is paying some company to remove scooters. Would be nice to know if that's true, as it would be misuse of taxpayer money for a problem forced upon us by the city.

The final photo is the scooter corral at the unit block of Prince Street Friday evening. Don't know if someone tipped them, or the wind blew them over, but hardly a plus for the 3rd oldest historic district in the U.S. Have seen them blow over, in a domino effect in moderate winds, which is surprising since they are pretty heavy with relatively little sail area.

Recommend this article, if you haven't read it already. It encapsulates most of the issues we're dealing with here in Alexandria. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/electric-scooter-bans-world/index.html

You'll note municipalities around the world are getting smart on scooters, banning them and the like. Not Alexandria.

Instead, we're progressing ahead to allow scooters on sidewalks, and extend the scooter pilot program almost 3X from its original timeframe. Might lead one to believe scooters are a fait accompli here.

And, sure enough, I received an autoreply on that email from dockless.mobility@alexandriava.gov, and here's what it said:

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to dockless.mobility@alexandriava.gov!

· If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.

· If you emailed to report an improperly parked scooter, unsafe riding or other issue, contact the associated company directly by phone, email, or app (information is on every scooter and included below).

· If you emailed to provide feedback on the pilot program, it has been recorded and will be compiled along with input from our Online Feedback Form. We are currently reviewing the pilot program and will be presenting Staff recommendation to City Council in November 2019.

· If you emailed a question about the pilot program, we will respond as soon as possible.

· If you emailed to report a scooter-related injury, we have recorded your report.

To Report an Improperly Parked Scooter or Unsafe Riding

Contact the associated company directly by phone, email, or app (company contact information is also on every e-scooter). Please note:

· You’ll receive the quickest response by reaching out to the associated company directly.

· Companies are required to have customer service lines available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

· Companies are required to report to the City monthly regarding each complaint and report submitted to them.

Scooter Operator Contact Information:

Bird (black & white): hello@bird.co or 866.205.2442

Bolt (yellow & black): support@boltoffice.com or 866.265.8143

Jump (red & black): visit www.jump.com/support or 844.505.9155 (scooters) or 833.300.6106 (bikes)

Lime (green & white): support@limebike.com or 888.546.3345

Lyft (pink & black): ​click here or 877.452.6699

Skip (blue & black): hello@skipscooters.com or 844.929.2687

Spin (orange & black): support@spin.pm or 888.262.5189

Please visit our website for additional information