By Daniel Smiechowski
A few years ago, dockless scooters were brought to our city to alleviate traffic congestion and for the concomitant effect of supporting environmental quality. We have not seen these results, nor will we ever see them. It’s now safe to say that city leaders slipped us a mickey.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and mayoral candidate Todd Gloria was among the advocates of these toys for thirty-something boys. They may be masters at public policy, but perhaps do not understand human nature.
Scooters are not a viable mode of transportation in our uniquely American society and culture that is wedded to the automobile. They fail for many age groups, weather conditions, traffic scenarios, and types of terrain. Dockless scooters are better suited for children seeking a joyride and cheap thrill.
Coincidentally, it was Gloria who drew the comparison of society accepting scooters as we did the automobile over one hundred years ago. When was the last time you saw a 70-year-old riding a scooter in heavy traffic to the supermarket?
Just as the infamous Pet Rock had a short shelf life, scooters are headed to the trash heap of history. Fads come and go, and as the French like to say, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.”
There is no better substitute to the idiocy of scooters than to walk, ride a bike, run or — God forbid — take public transportation. I’m a former Ironman competitor and current triathlete. If I can ride a bike, walk and run at age 65, so can Millennials.
The inherent danger of riding a scooter ought to be quite evident. A couple of months ago, in just one of many instances, I witnessed a young woman in her early twenties crash in Balboa Park, landing squarely on her head without a helmet. She lay on the ground in clear distress before being assisted by paramedics.
These types of accidents are overcrowding local emergency rooms and the patience of nurses and trauma surgeons. It’s time for San Diego to ban scooters.
My sense is that a group of well-heeled investors with political and social power and connections persuaded local elected officials about the merits of their unworthy scheme. The average person on the street had no input into allowing these dangerous toys into our city. As a former member of the Clairemont Community Planning Group, I pleaded with my colleagues to not support the arrival of scooters — only to be rebuffed as a lunatic and worse.
The intention of both Faulconer and Gloria may have been honorable, but the results of this alternative mode of transportation are counterproductive to a city in motion.
Daniel “Danny” Smiechowski is a Clairemont resident, prolific writer on education issues, former candidate for San Diego City Council and current candidate for Mayor.
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