In Atlanta, ride sharing transportation options are plentiful. We have everything from Uber and Lyft to bicycles and electric bicycles. And just last May, we were introduced to electric scooters (or e-scooters) as an exciting new option. People are turning to these dockless e-scooters to zip around the city more and more. They provide a convenient way to move around not only for pleasure but for short commutes to avoid congested traffic. With lower carbon footprints than cars, many eco-conscious consumers view e-scooters as a good alternative transportation option. These appealing qualities have led to an influx of e-scooters scattered across the city, with Bird and Lime being the major operators. Lyft and Jump (owned by Uber) have also recently entered the Atlanta market.
E-scooters are easy to find and access. By simply downloading an app on your phone, you can locate and reserve one or you can walk up to an available e-scooter and scan the QR code. Users pay a small fee to “unlock” it (typically $1) with an additional per-minute fee after that. Some e-scooter operators also ask users to agree to a rental agreement, waiver of liability and release. An example of one can be found here: https://www.bird.co/agreement/.
Unfortunately, the arrival of e-scooters has transformed communities so rapidly that our state and local governments have been unable to effectively regulate this industry or protect the public. Complaints have steadily increased about e-scooters being left unattended, blocking sidewalks and streets, and being operated in unsafe and erratic manners. This has led to angry and annoyed citizens who have asked for their regulation. In fact, residents of Decatur are so fed up with e-scooters that they have tried to ban them altogether. Others have suggested that cities adapt its roadways to add more bike lanes to accommodate e-scooter users and encourage them to stay off the sidewalks.