In cities all over the U.S., electric vehicles have been popping up from companies like LimeBike, Spin, Bird and Uber’s Jump Bikes. These start-ups have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to solve what some call the last mile transportation problem — the symbolic distance between public transit and the final destination. While consumers may be excited about this influx of new vehicles hitting the road, cities aren’t quite ready for them yet.
Here’s how they work:
First, you use an app on your phone to find a scooter or bike you want to rent. Then walk to it on the street. You unlock it by scanning a QR code on the handle and then you’re off. There’s a brake on one side and a throttle on the other that’ll propel you up to 15 miles per hour.
In downtown San Francisco, the number of electric scooters has surged recently, introducing a host of problems, including people illegally riding on sidewalks, vandalization and parked scooters blocking the walkways. The city even began impounding scooters that are parked illegally.