Dear Editor: City of Madison officials should seek to attract, not attack, innovative and popular transit solutions like electric scooter companies.
Earlier this summer, I spent part of a vacation on one of these scooters in Los Angeles, hopping between restaurants, beaches and shopping districts. After I downloaded the app and zipped off freely in under two minutes, my first thought was how great these would be in Madison (at least six months of the year).
Beyond tourism, I saw hordes of people using the scooters in the otherwise car-centric metropolis to solve a diversity of transit problems. People rode in work uniforms on their daily commutes, with groceries for a quick errand, and made extra money collecting and charging the scooters overnight, placing them neatly back on the boulevards early in the morning.
It is hard to ride the scooters and not smile, but the city of Madison is trying to paint the presence of scooters as a bleak, corporate takeover before we have even had the chance to try them.
City officials are quick to point to the possible negative consequences of such scooters: They might conflict with other transportation modes at an intersection — oh my! They might hit a pedestrian — oh my! All of these concerns are normal problems when humans need to transport themselves, and the threat posed by the presence of people on scooters pales compared to the daily danger caused by cars to people who walk or bike around Madison.
Scooters are coming and people will like them whether the city wants them to or not. Better to hop on and enjoy the ride than scowl from the sidewalk.
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