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Thread: Counting scooters "strewn" on the trails - MVT at the CCC to the Jefferson

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    Default Counting scooters "strewn" on the trails - MVT at the CCC to the Jefferson

    As warmer weather approaches, scooters will be more widely used on our trails. Regardless of your position about whether scooters should be permitted on trails, I think most will agree that both riders and scooter companies shouldn’t leave them abandoned alongside the trails. Whether this is a problem and figuring out appropriate action will require data. The trails managers aren’t likely to have the bandwidth to collect that data.

    To help with that, I propose forum members help. Let’s count scooters along trail segments and post those counts to the forum. Recognizing the need to park them somewhere, I propose excluding scooters in the immediate vicinity of CaBi stations (on or near the concrete slab) and possibly other places which will be defined as this process gets going. For example, my ride from the intersection of the Crystal City Connector and the Mount Vernon Trail and across the 14th Street Bridge is in three discrete segments;
    • The MVT from the CC Connector to the road crossing at Gravelly Point (CC to GP)
    • The MVT from the CaBi station at Gravelly Point to the turnoff to the 14th Street Bridge (GP to 14), excluding scooters at the CaBi station at Gravelly Point
    • The ramp up to the 14th Street Bridge to the CaBi station at the Jefferson Memorial (14 Bridge)

    If we do this, and others add the segments they ride, contemporaneous data will be available to trail managers. I have no idea what the data will reveal but think it is a worthwhile effort.

    I'd think that morning rides would be the best times as the evening is when the scooters get collected, charged, and repositioned.

    I suppose there would be a similar forum thread for common trails.

    Yesterday’s report for the segments would look like

    830 am 3 Apr
    4 on CC to GP
    7 on GP to 14
    4 on 14 Bridge

    Today I got
    815 am 4 Apr
    4 on CC to GP
    3 on GP to 14
    9 on 14 Bridge

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbb View Post

    I'd think that morning rides would be the best times as the evening is when the scooters get collected, charged, and repositioned.
    hahaha thats a joke, right? The same 3-4 scooters were on one of the bridges by the airport for over a week, and may still be there. Pretty sure some of the scooters I saw on the 14th st bridge this morning have been there all week too.

    I actually think scooters are a great idea in theory, but I'm getting pretty annoyed by how they're getting strewn all over the MVT and 14th St bridges. They're creating some unsafe conditions on my daily commute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    hahaha thats a joke, right? The same 3-4 scooters were on one of the bridges by the airport for over a week, and may still be there. Pretty sure some of the scooters I saw on the 14th st bridge this morning have been there all week too.

    I actually think scooters are a great idea in theory, but I'm getting pretty annoyed by how they're getting strewn all over the MVT and 14th St bridges. They're creating some unsafe conditions on my daily commute.
    Yes, during the afternoon commute yesterday there seemed to be something like 20 scooters on the 14th Street Bridge alone. I wonder how many now sleep with the fishes given the cursing I heard from cyclists trying to maneuver around them as well as the crowds of tourists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    hahaha thats a joke, right? The same 3-4 scooters were on one of the bridges by the airport for over a week, and may still be there. Pretty sure some of the scooters I saw on the 14th st bridge this morning have been there all week too.

    I actually think scooters are a great idea in theory, but I'm getting pretty annoyed by how they're getting strewn all over the MVT and 14th St bridges. They're creating some unsafe conditions on my daily commute.
    If I may revise and extend my earlier statement, "I'd think that morning rides would be the best times as the companies have the opportunity to collect, charge, and reposition the scooters they care about." The goal would be to identify problems and problem locations.

    Maybe an approach like the soda can deposit in many areas might work. If a scooter company were to put a $100 deposit down on every scooter they deploy, then they could get the deposit back when they take it out of service at the end of it's life. Absent that, the community has some cash to deal with the litter. Non-company returns wouldn't be permitted as that would encourage theft.

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    Ah yes, 14th Street Bridge -- there were 4 or perhaps 5, left on the bridge's walkway when I crossed it into DC yesterday... and coming back into VA 40 minutes later, the same ones were still there, PLUS 2 scooter riders traveling in front of me parked their 2 scooters immediately at the end of the concrete paving just as it meets asphalt, on the VA side of the crossing... as parking jobs go (compared to the dangerous examples consuming precious space on the 14th St. Br. walkway) --- their parking choice was stellar --- they used a thin strip of grass about 8 inches wide, to lean the scooters against the metal fencing there, thus keeping the scooters entirely off the trail's asphalt; even if just barely.
    I didn't attempt to count the scooters abandoned/parked in the grassy areas throughout my bike ride along PYT, MVT, Hains and 4MR... I'd guess about 2-3 dozen? But at least none of those poses trail-blocking dangers by their discarded placement.

    I'd be stunned if any of the scooter companies had the resources (human labor force), or the desire/motivation, to daily go find and move/collect "troublesome" parked scooters. They don't seem to me to make any attempt at training or even etiquette guidelines for their renters, such as "never park your scooter on a bridge... never park your scooter across a sidewalk or trail pathway... survey your parking location and ensure it is not a blind spot for any oncoming traffic... " etc. Nor I suspect, do they have any effective means of delivering such training/guidelines to the whole of their renter population, let alone any chance of enforcing it... a "Tips and Hints" page displayed within the riding app would be looked at in earnest, I suppose, by what, a minuscule fraction of renters?

    Then again, every cloud has a silver lining, and dotting our MUT's with space-grabbing obstacles may gradually introduce slower biking speeds to some of the speed demons out there now, just as pedestrian crowds are starting to grow exponentially fast!

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    AFAICT people leave them in strange spots (IE not walkable to anything) because they run out of charge. I suspect they are left badly parked and not collected on trails because its harder for the companies to collect them there than on sidewalks adjacent to streets. Best solution would be for the companies to use ebikes with trailers to gather the scooters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbike33 View Post
    Yes, during the afternoon commute yesterday there seemed to be something like 20 scooters on the 14th Street Bridge alone. I wonder how many now sleep with the fishes given the cursing I heard from cyclists trying to maneuver around them as well as the crowds of tourists.

    I don't want to minimize anyone's frustration that leads to dumping a scooter in the river. But just imagine what the public reaction would be if a cyclist did even minor deliberate damage to a car that was parked in a bike lane. As a community we'd be drawn and quartered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbb View Post
    Let’s count scooters along trail segments and post those counts to the forum.
    The scooter companies have and shared all of the geocoded data on the location of scooters with the localities. It's not perfect - e.g. it's not good enough to tell if a scooter is properly parked on a sidewalk v in someone's yard beside the sidewalk - but it's good enough to narrow whether the scooters are in the vicinity of the trail. I'm not sure what citizen-led counts get us that a data query wouldn't show quickly, with no volunteer time...

    Quote Originally Posted by ChristoB50 View Post
    2 scooter riders traveling in front of me parked their 2 scooters immediately at the end of the concrete paving just as it meets asphalt, on the VA side of the crossing... as parking jobs go (compared to the dangerous examples consuming precious space on the 14th St. Br. walkway) --- their parking choice was stellar --- they used a thin strip of grass about 8 inches wide, to lean the scooters against the metal fencing there, thus keeping the scooters entirely off the trail's asphalt; even if just barely.
    Did you ask them why they were parking there? It just seems odd...

    Quote Originally Posted by ChristoB50 View Post
    I'd be stunned if any of the scooter companies had the resources (human labor force), or the desire/motivation, to daily go find and move/collect "troublesome" parked scooters. They don't seem to me to make any attempt at training or even etiquette guidelines for their renters, such as "never park your scooter on a bridge... never park your scooter across a sidewalk or trail pathway... survey your parking location and ensure it is not a blind spot for any oncoming traffic... " etc. Nor I suspect, do they have any effective means of delivering such training/guidelines to the whole of their renter population, let alone any chance of enforcing it... a "Tips and Hints" page displayed within the riding app would be looked at in earnest, I suppose, by what, a minuscule fraction of renters?
    The companies have very small labor forces, but rely on the "gig" economy to do the finding, moving and collecting. Honestly, if you have a proposal for taking an ebike+trailer (or something) to grab all these trail-abandoned scooters, pitch it to the companies with your price, and see what they say.

    The companies do attempt training for their riders (some more than others), but honestly, it's just going to take a second for norms to settle and ideas to catch on. There are some places that seem like good parking spaces from one angle, but not from another. Or would be a good spot, until the scooter is blown down. Personally, I think more needs to be done to encourage parking in street-parking spots and off of the sidewalks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I don't want to minimize anyone's frustration that leads to dumping a scooter in the river. But just imagine what the public reaction would be if a cyclist did even minor deliberate damage to a car that was parked in a bike lane. As a community we'd be drawn and quartered.
    Agreed. Perhaps a better solution would be to lift them over the other railing and gently place them in the narrow shoulder of the highway, leaning against the barrier. Perhaps that would get the attention of authorities.
    It might also make people wonder who was riding their scooter across the bridge and left it there to continue walking.

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    There are probably 10 on the CCT, which, given the long distances between vehicle access points, leads me to conclude they're not going anywhere any time soon.

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