Don't blame scooters. Blame the streets.

  • Published on:  9/18/2018
  • The sidewalks were never meant for this.

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    We teamed up with the University of California to explain one of the hottest trends of 2018: dockless electric scooters.

    You can see more from University of California in our YouTube series Climate Lab:

    You can also read University of California's write-up on the video above here:

    They’re one of many ‘micro-mobility’ innovations rocketing through the transportation sector.

    Even in cities with exceptional public transportation coverage, gaps persist. This is a decades old problem, often referred to as ‘the last mile/first mile.’ Cities traditionally address the last mile problem by expanding bus routes. But as cities continue to populate while transportation dept budgets dwindle, the patience of commuters is running dry. So scooters, electric skateboards, and pedal assist bikes have become an increasingly popular option for city residents.

    These innovations, while quite popular, also draw the ire of the oft-beleaguered sidewalk pedestrian. The past century of development prioritized car transportation, often at the expense of wide sidewalks that were once bustling with life. So the planners of today are taking a page out of history to prepare for a brave new world of alternative transportation.

    If you’d like to learn more about the deal with scooters in your city, I recommend following Curbed. You should start with this write-up by Alissa Walker:

    Here’s a closer look at the survey data on the popularity of scooters:

    Here’s Sarah Kaufman on the push to regulate scooters in cities:

    Here’s a NACTO write-up on what future complete streets could look like.

    And, just for fun, here’s that Library of Congress footage of San Francisco’s Market Street: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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  • Vox (Sep 19, 2018)

    If you’d like to learn more about the deal with scooters in your city, I recommend following Curbed. This piece by Alissa Walker inspired this video:

  • Buddy Clem (Mar 24, 2019)

    First of all, what is a dockless scooter?

  • Ali (Dec 11, 2018)

    I don't get what the issue is? Is the issue really about the size of the side walks not being big enough? I don't see any problems with these scooters.

  • Versaucey (Sep 18, 2018)

    I don't know why but I read the title as "Don't blame shooters. Blame the streets"

  • The Computer (Apr 11, 2019)

    Versaucey lol, I read your comment as “don’t blame scooters...” and I thought this was a joke

  • Lüc (Sep 20, 2018)

    Mudbone gaming “Dislexia”

  • Qslick B (Sep 18, 2018)

    That baby being carried across the street would be 112 years old if still alive today!!

  • Patrick Missen (Dec 15, 2018)

    RIP Daredevil baby

  • Trenton (Dec 10, 2018)

    Lol smh

  • Ken Bob (Nov 22, 2018)

    My favorite parts of a city are those that have tree-lined streets with at most two narrow lanes for vehicles, protected bike lanes and wide sidewalks encouraging foot traffic. These areas are catalysts for small shops and restaurants and generate a nice vibe.

  • Roboko (Sep 18, 2018)

    The 'last mile' issue of the US is a fault of the urban planning in itself. Much of US suburbs are huge sprawls. People live spaced out too far apart for transport connections to be economic. Scooters in the last mile is treating the symptom not the cause.

  • Bocbo (Apr 12, 2019)

    Most of us don't want to live near most of us. Planning reflected desire.

  • TbN Nemeziz (Apr 9, 2019)

    They can just walk a mile it’s not that far

  • FlamingBull (Sep 18, 2018)

    No mention of the issues haphazardly docking scooters in the middle of side walks brings, like inhibiting handicapped or wheelchaired pedestrians. Kind of surprised

  • Curiosity Culture (Sep 18, 2018)

    Damn, only Vox can makes a video about sidewalk/street evolution interesting

  • dip nutzzz (Nov 4, 2018)

    No look up your mom

  • Cosm0s (Sep 20, 2018)

    It’s an inherently interesting topic...

  • SuperTobyproductions (Sep 18, 2018)

    Laughs in Dutch, where we not just need to cycle the last mile but just can go all over town

  • OriginalGrasshopper (Apr 4, 2019)

    Same here in Sweden. Bikes for the win!

  • Mr. P. Enis (Feb 22, 2019)

    +raleighman3000 sorry i was responding to the other guy

  • Will Vachon (Sep 18, 2018)

    The last mile only exists because people are forbidden from living less than a mile from where they need to go. Planners always dance around the real issue- zoning. Zoning bylaws are almost as anachronistic as those images of the man crossing traffic with the baby. Its the simplest, most effective way to fix North American cities.

  • Kit Vitae (Apr 10, 2019)

    +thelessimportantAJ michel That's very interesting. I didn't know that. I think certain types of industrial make sense to be separate if they're particularly polluting, but I think having separate commercial is silly. I had heard lots of stories of people having apartments above a shop in New York, so I had assumed it had some kind of mixed zoning. Plenty of cities in the UK have residential above shops, so I didn't really think to question the stories.

  • Kit Vitae No. Manhattan was definitely developed with separate residential, commercial and industrial zones. Riverside Drive was even extended north by a bridge so that it wouldn’t have interaction with the industrial area and piers of West 125th St. The different zones are proximate and much more accessible to each other than most other places in the country though.

  • cicci0salsicci0 (Sep 18, 2018)

    Wrong title: It should have been "Don't blame scooters. Blame people"

  • Isaac Kangas (Dec 12, 2018)

    "Don't blame scooters: Blame cars"