"Caught my first tube today, Sir!"

And by "tube" I mean: I stepped out of my door and some idiot on a scooter rammed into me and went flying. He had been speeding down the sidewalk like a foot from the wall. As he lay sprawled in his yardsale and I tried to determine whether I was bleeding I said, "This is why I hate those things!"


Still lying on the ground, he said, "But it's not my fault!"

"Fuck you!" I explained. "You were going 20 miles an hour on the fucking sidewalk!"

This is when the guy at the glass shop started laughing. I guess you can't really say you were a part of San Francisco 2018 until a techbro on a scooter has slammed into you and then blamed you for it.

How to Recycle your E-scooter:

The city and the e-scooter companies have been working very hard to find a solution to the e-scooter problem, and in response to public demand, they have placed escooter docking stations all over the city for your convenience. When you see an e-scooter on the sidewalk, calmly walk up to it, pick it up, and place it on the nearest docking station, also known as a 'scootypods' (they're still focus grouping that title).

If a docking station does not have the recycling symbol on it, simply slot the scooter through the top of the docking station as pictured. [...]

When you're done riding an escooter, always remember to D.U.M.P

  • Don't panic
  • Understand that you are part of the problem
  • Mobilize your legs
  • Place escooter in the trash

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19 Responses:

  1. ctag says:

    I've only had one interaction with e-scooters; while visiting family in Atlanta. After the ridiculous dance of activating them and swapping phones around (we had to mix and match Bird and Lime scooters, since the app limits to one per phone and not everyone had a phone) we took off. Not 20 feet from the rack we passed someone on the sidewalk who exclaimed "You can't ride those here! Read your user agreement!"

    It certainly felt bad to be on the other end of the shouting, but I was hugely impressed that these things appear to have lay people interested in EULAs.

  2. Derpatron9000 says:

    "But it's not my fault!"

    The attitude of a generation......<

  3. BHN says:

    jwz, why do you hate the Earth so much?

  4. NT says:

    At least he took a spill himself, which is better than getting doored by a BMW.
    Of course, you are mostly safe from getting doored on the sidewalk.

  5. TravisD says:

    "Fuck you!" I explained

    Man, that's a line I have to remember to use more often...

  6. Carlos says:

    At this point, I'm genuinely curious what the legal status of the Bird/Lime/etc scooters are. They don't have permits to leave them lying around the city, so are they legally abandoned property?

    i.e. is it fully legal to scoop up as many as you can squeeze into the back of a pickup, take them home, salvage the Li-Ion cells and motors, and sell the rest as salvage/scrap? If so, this could be a cleanup operation that pays for itself.

    C.

    • Karellen says:

      If you leave your bicycle leaning against the side of a building while you pop into the shops, the fact that you don't have a permit or failed to chain it up does not mean anyone who walks by is legally allowed to walk off with it. I mean, someone probably will, but that doesn't mean it's right.

      Further, if you managed to bump yourself on the head, or otherwise found a way of contracting a bit of amnesia, and forgot where you left it, the fact that you didn't know where your bike was still wouldn't make it OK for someone else to walk off with it.

      So my guess is no, it probably isn't fully legal to scoop the things up and claim that they're salvage. Disclaimer - IANAL and TINLA.

      • Pavel says:

        And yet, if I leave my car on the sidewalk, or a non-parking-spot, or the middle of the beach, the city can and will haul it away, impound it, and charge me a fee for the hassle.

        Same with a bicycle, actually, except they'd likely skip the impounding and skip to the crushing-into-a-cube step.

        Why are scooters different again?

        • jwz says:

          In some municipalities, they're not different.

        • Karellen says:

          The difference here is not the thing being taken away (scooters vs bicycles) but the entity doing the taking. Private citizens have different rights than authorised agents of democratically elected governing bodies.

          As you point out, when a government takes a thing away, they don't claim it's salvage, or take it for their own benefit or their own use. They acknowledge that someone else is still the legal owner, even if they don't know who that is, and generally allow that person to reclaim their property - if they pay a fee to cover costs and to discourage people from cluttering up shared spaces. Further, they allow citizens to affect this policy, either by voting for people who will change the rules, or by running as someone who will change the rules - which is a level of oversight I'm guessing you weren't planning on subjecting yourself to before unilaterally declaring shit you find on the street as "salvage".

          • margaret says:

            Who are you people that think the government's not the number one asshole on the block?

            For fucks sake - it's the one thing both sides of the political spectrum can agree upon!

            You should have stopped at the first paragraph because EVERY-FUCKING-THING you write in the second is absurdly WRONG!

            https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/its-time-to-rethink-how-our-federal-agencies-seize-cash-and-property

            https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/jeff-sessions-the-new-champion-of-civil-asset-forfeiture/

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/03/13/asset-forfeiture-rap-albums-shkreli-hard-earned-cash-governments-little-goodies-column/415018002/

            https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/04/civil-asset-forfeiture/

            • Karellen says:

              OK, yes, civil forfeiture is bullshit, and my bad for overgeneralising and not considering that specific case when I was talking about government taking stuff in the context of impounding property left on the street when the owner is absent.

              That said, as far as I can tell, even in civil forfeiture, the government does not claim that the things it takes are not yours any more. They don't get sold or used; they get stored as evidence of an alleged crime, and there are procedures you can follow to try and get the charge cleared and your property back.

              Further, you should have the opportunity to vote for political candidates at a number of levels of government who agree with your position to try and get the rules changed, or, failing that, run for government yourself to try and change them.

              So, uh, what exactly did I say that was wrong?

              • margaret says:

                > So, uh, what exactly did I say that was wrong?

                Karellen posits:
                As you point out, when a government takes a thing away, they don't claim it's salvage, or take it for their own benefit or their own use. They acknowledge that someone else is still the legal owner, even if they don't know who that is, and generally allow that person to reclaim their property - if they pay a fee to cover costs and to discourage people from cluttering up shared spaces. Further, they allow citizens to affect this policy, either by voting for people who will change the rules, or by running as someone who will change the rules - which is a level of oversight I'm guessing you weren't planning on subjecting yourself to before unilaterally declaring shit you find on the street as "salvage".

                Karellen then fails to read counterpoint and doubles-down with:

                That said, as far as I can tell, even in civil forfeiture, the government does not claim that the things it takes are not yours any more. They don't get sold or used; they get stored as evidence of an alleged crime, and there are procedures you can follow to try and get the charge cleared and your property back.

                Seriously - how do you not know this is a huge problem? Please, before tripling down, google 'civil forfeiture' and read the first handful of hits. Or watch a few seasons of Breaking Bad if reading's not your thing. Seriously, it's a huge problem. People figure it's just scumbags getting their stuff taken so fuck-em. What it really is the government (federal, state, local) stealing stuff from citizens so they can have windfall in their coffers without having to ask voters for a tax.

                One last try: https://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2018/10/01/civil-forfeiture-may-be-over-in-philly-but-abuses-abound-across-america/#235171e739b6

                • Eric says:

                  Looks like San Francisco's population of people who scream about random things on the sidewalk at nobody in particular have discovered internet comment sections.

            • ssl-3 says:

              That's a lovely red herring that you have there.

        • rjt_jr says:

          I've claimed a few abandoned bikes and fixed them up. I grabbed a long abandoned EX500 motorcycle in the corner of a parking lot. In each case the cops were surprisingly cool and helpful about me taking legit possession. In each case the drill involved putting a sticker on the vehicle saying "If this isn't moved in three weeks, it's not yours anymore."

          Dunno how that could be applied to scooters that do in fact move every day.

          I wouldn't have a problem with the scooters and dockless bikes if there were marked spaces for them. It's just the fact that they're strewn everywhere that's annoying; I've had zero problems with riders. Municipal governments worked with Zipcar and similar to make special spaces and it works pretty well. I think cities are still kind of seeing how this plays out before they decide what to do.

          I guess Uber is a public company and they're doing the scooters now. I wonder if one can dig into the financials of one of these operations. I bet they're just cash furnaces and it's impossible to make money renting scooters. Look at the amazon reviews of the actual scooters: the tires go out constantly, and the batteries are trash at least once a year. I seriously doubt the bearings and electronics are sufficiently weather proofed and I bet the whole scooter is junk pretty quick. The "for real" electric bikes by Trek et al cost $4K, and I bet that's more like what it costs to make a scooter or ebike that isn't insta-trash. A real break-even rental cost even on the junk is probably high enough that nobody would bother. My guess is the whole thing is an elaborate pump-and-dump fraud that can't pencil out as a sustainable business. We'll probably know for sure inside two years.

  7. Christoph says:

    Fun fact: in these parts, the cleanup of those "bikes" of the cheap, squeaky, yellow-grey kind is not quite finished yet. At the same time, people discovered that electrically boosted kick-scooters aren't street-legal in this rather highly regulated part of the world. But instead of being all "thank goodness, let this one pass", they're planning to legalize the scooters. Perhaps we still remember how the mop-up-drill works when the scooter bubble pops.

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