The Electric Scooter Revolution

Birds and Limes. These are new verbs that have redefined the definition of micro-transportation. If you haven’t already seen these electric scooter monstrosities then you are from another planet.

These cheap and fun motorized scooters have not only invaded Los Angeles, they have spread across the world. But why have scooters comeback? Well, these scooters are not just the perfect gimmick, they have become a popular option for short-distance transportation.

After riding both Bird and Lime for over five months now, I have found myself using these services more and more. You see living in Los Angeles is a pain, commuting anywhere in LA rush hour is disastrous.

The Atlantic/Bird Scooters

The Atlantic/Bird Scooters

There is no avoiding it, you will be stuck in traffic and Waze is starting to slow down with more users using alternate routes. As someone who does not own wheels, commuting in LA has been an uphill battle.

LA does not have reliable public transportation. With Uber and Lyft you get the same results as driving your own car. This leaves a small void and companies like Bird and Lime have capitalized on this need for short-distance transportation.

Bird and Lime make for a compelling alternative to cars, rideshare, buses, trains, and bikes. These services are brilliant and companies like Bird have recently been valued at one billion dollars.

I live on the Westside and Birds have flooded the sidewalks. It makes for an easy commute to work where I can zip through traffic avoiding the hassle of waiting for an Uber or bus. The most compelling feature is not the exhilarating feeling of going fast rather the cheap cost of riding the scooter.

These scooters are extremely cheap costing 1 dollar to start followed by 15 cents per minute. I have tested my 3-mile commute to work during rush hour and Bird stands strong beating Uber’s price and time.

With an Uber it can take me 15-20 minutes costing between $8 to $12, with Bird it takes 12 minutes costing me a max of $3 with detours.

Bird and Lime are not just a niche for millennials like me who do not want to get sweaty on a bike or wait for a bus. No, I have seen a wide demographic of people using these scooters and the popularity is rather interesting.

Although they are fun and reliable, the biggest controversy surrounding Bird and Lime are safety. In a nutshell these scooters are dangerous. I have fallen a couple times and have dodged some very close calls even being on the dedicated bike lanes of Santa Monica boulevard.

It will be interesting to see where Bird and Lime lands in 2019. In a Vice News report, San Francisco has taken extreme measures to ban and exile Birds. With more lawsuits being filed, the electric scooter industry is getting even more competitive with heavy weights like Uber and Lyft rolling out their own versions.

Can this new transportation revolution be sustainable, or is it just another trend? 

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