Black Ecologie Vol IV: road rage
not all e-scooters
If we’ve met before, you probably heard me talk about the new love in my life: my electric kick scooter. I’ve never driven a Ford pickup truck, but I imagine it’s a lot like riding an e-scooter: drunk on horsepower, you suddenly become an asshole.
At its fastest, my scooter pushes 30 mph, so you can imagine how much fun I have overtaking unsuspecting cyclists in the bike lane. E-scooters like mine are one of many battery-powered “micro-mobility” gadgets designed to make quick trips around town easier for city mice like myself.
Having a scooter makes you:
despise walking anywhere ever again
appreciate smooth roads
very impatient at traffic lights
sometimes a sidewalk demon, other times a bike lane bully
slightly jacked from carrying your scooter up and down stairs
slightly paranoid about scooter thieves, and therefore a hoarder of steel locks
Having a scooter DOESN’T necessarily make you:
arrive on time :)
One night while scooting, two young men heckled me on bikes. “I hate those motherf*ckers on scooters!” one man whisper-yelled as I zoomed past.
E-scooters get a lot of hate, and for good reason. Scooters from rental companies like Lime and Bird, have been found in waterways, strewn across sidewalks, and cause a growing number of accidents every year. It’s become the most divisive topic in micro-mobility since The Segway. Remember those?
The Segway first came out in 2001 and was supposed to revolutionize urban transport. Instead, it became a meme. Yes, George W. Bush famously fell off of a Segway, but their real downfall was cultural — it simply wasn’t cool to ride one. Coincidently, it was electric kick scooters (and purchase by a Chinese competitor) that saved Segway from going bankrupt.
The Segway example imparts a valuable lesson about climate and micro-mobility. It’s not enough to offer consumers a new low-carbon alternative to cars; style and aesthetics play a huge role in adoption.
The question we ask ourselves when pondering whether to pivot away from cars isn’t How much will this e-scooter reduce my carbon footprint? It’s more like: Will I look like an idiot riding this glorified children’s toy to work? The answer in all cases is yes! But, you’ll also have a blast.
The year is 2080 and walking is now obsolete. How will you get around?
Things I’m shouting about this week:
People are mad about the activists that defaced works of art to raise awareness about the climate crisis. Someone should write a think piece about how respectability politics can hinder public action on climate.