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Blake Dowling: What’s the deal with e-scooters?

If all this can be done safely, barriers facing this effort will come down.

Last week, Monica called from the WCTV affiliate here in North Florida to talk all things e-scooters and geofencing.

It seems our universities in Tallahassee wanted no part of the three-month pilot program the Capital City is currently running, so they put up a geofence around their campuses. That way, scooters cannot cross the established boundaries.

That was the main topic under discussion.

This was the plan, but some of the scooters were still spotted and found all over FSU.

So, what went wrong? Why are people loving and hating the scooter launch? Why was there one in my yard?

How did we get here?

Back in May, the City Commission voted to allow a three-month program to bring e-scooters to Tallahassee, following the same laws as a bicycle.

One of those companies, Lime (as an Uber partner) makes tracking down available scooters a breeze using the existing Uber app.

If all this can be done safely, barriers facing this effort will come down.

Hollywood, Florida did their own pilot — but scooters were later banned.

Those city leaders referenced scooter accidents leading to an increase in emergency room visits.

Of course, there are precautions that can be taken, like wearing helmets (obviously). However, there are no laws enforcing helmets, and if the companies provided helmets, it’s doubtful people would embrace the idea of slapping on an already worn (and probably sweaty) community helmet.

What the scooter program should look like, nice and tidy, helmets, etc.

There are 1000 scooters on the street — and guess what is about to start? College football season.

What will these two things be like? Fire and gasoline? Wine and Joan Rivers accepting an award?

Most likely. But why do you ask?

When I left the Peach Bowl last year, Atlanta had a pilot program for e-scooters. Before the game, you saw a few folks scooting around the crowds.

Pretty Cool. Pretty neat. Real neat (my Jim McElwain impression).

But after the game, it was a scooter-nado, a scooter apocalypse, Mad Max in Scooter Town. (Are you getting my drift?)

Overserved individuals en masse with scooters gone wild, homeless scooting around when they weren’t even running.

I even saw someone throwing one.

As the saying goes: This is why we can’t have nice things.

Here we have a perfectly cool way to be mobile around the city, and people made a mess of it. Atlanta has now banned e-scooters.

What the scooter program looks like — in some places.

Am I ranting against the e-scooter? Not one bit.

As I said earlier, I think it’s cool. But personally, I don’t think they are going to fly.

Also, why was one in my yard for three days?

My place is in walking distance to a couple of restaurants, but not close to any retail or nightlife hubs.

Also … please don’t drink and scoot.

The first conviction already went down in California last year.

Bottom line — besides safety issues, they also have to tighten up the tech to keep the scooters out of the areas they shouldn’t be.

So, there seems to be a lot of to-do items on the list for it to truly work.

What Spider-Man on a scooter looks like, thanks to Polk County.

The pilot in Tallahassee rolls until Oct. 15; we will see what the future holds for this type of transportation tech.

Will we see responsible use of scooters during football season? Or will we see prominent elected officials and lobbyists cruising from the Capitol to the Governor’s Club next session?

We will see.

Have a great weekend.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Written By

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

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