Human sized vehicles — “you don’t need to put out an S.U.V.’s worth of carbon emissions just to go to work”.
The NYTimes has published a story today about e-scooters in NYC, a micro-mobility option that’s booming in cities all over the US. What is the point of the article?
There’s a continuing problem with journalism like this, implying that any form of personal transportation other than cars is a serious safety concern. The article enumerates 20 e-mobility fatalities in New York City without any context – how many were caused by drivers – and does not mention the record breaking number of traffic fatalities in 2021, a “crisis” of 124 deaths in NYC so far this year.
Asbury Park has seen a surge in e-scooter use since the LINK scooter launch in April, 2021. We hear complaints from non-users that they’re dangerous because people are breaking the rules (true), because streets are dangerous (true), or that there’s too much traffic (also true). All of those same complaints can be leveled at drivers who were involved in 40 thousand traffic fatalities last year, and the number is rising. Cities will be truly safe when we are able to reduce or eliminate car dependency.
Even the caption under this photo in the article is a not-so-subtle indictment against micro-mobility, focusing on the exceptions rather than the majority of compliant micro-mobility users: “Electric unicycles are among the electric devices that are illegal.
Let’s focus on the positive:
“Electric bikes, scooters and other devices are in many cases made for urban life because they are affordable, better for the environment, take up little, if any, street space for parking and are just fun to use, said Sarah M. Kaufman, the associate director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University.
“In cities, many people understand there is a right-size vehicle for getting around — and that’s human size — you don’t need to put out an S.U.V.’s worth of carbon emissions just to go to work,” she said.
Across the nation, cities have increasingly embraced electric bikes and scooters as a way to get more people out of cars and fill the gap in urban transportation systems for trips that are too far to walk but too close for the subway or bus, according to transportation officials and experts.”