Scooters! Scooters! That’s all I hear from all my friends in Old Town. The number of scooter incidents is unreal; you just can’t make up what some of these scooter riders are doing. This new "breed of cat" makes the errant and defiant bike riders in this town look like paragons of traffic obedience.
The most flagrant infractions include illegally riding scooters on sidewalks, often at 15-20 miles per hour (some have been clocked at 22-25 miles per hour). Sooner or later, a pedestrian is going to be hit, and hopefully it will not be a fatal encounter. Moreover, not one of these scooter jockeys are wearing headgear as protection. Recently, I saw an adult with a 7-8 year old boy in front of him on the scooter, operating at max speed on a sidewalk. It is also commonplace for scooter operators to meander in the middle of the streets, zig-zagging back and forth. As is the case of the belligerent bicyclists, scooter drivers essentially ignore the laws governing their usage. Although scooters are omnipresent — they are docked on almost every corner (mostly on the sidewalks blocking foot traffic), there is absolutely no enforcement of the traffic laws in this city; of the numerous flagrant breaches to be seen, scooters are the worst example.
One example of a positive approach to the scooter issue is that of San Francisco. The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) monitors a myriad of problems throughout the country on a daily basis. Due to the aforementioned scooter problems, the city decided to terminate their scooter program until all of the problems were eliminated. The San Francisco Management Transportation Agency (SFMTA) then created a set of rules outlined in “appropriate permits and requirements to regulate motorized scooters sharing in the public right of way.” The scooter program was terminated for a period of three months, and it was only reinitiated after the SFMTA was satisfied that all of the major problems had been corrected. Santa Monica also experienced the same problems, and shut down their operation also until they were satisfied that the problems had indeed been corrected.
The Alexandria City Council should take heed from other jurisdictions, and should immediately shut down the scooter program. It should not be restarted until an enforcement process is in place. Why wait until someone is hurt, or even worse, Alexandria?
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet