Loyal readers will remember the recent post in which I flamed the flotsam and jetsam of dockless bikes lying homeless on the streets of our Nation's capital.
Evidently my rantings were cast about in darkness. As bent as I was on having all of those bikes chewed up by a starving robosaurus, they continue to turn up where my foot next aims to step. A forgotten, tangled mass of tragic castoffs.
The Name Matters - Scooters have feelings too. It's demeaning to be labelled a "personal mobility device". Amplifies the contrast between thing and person. Inflames the scooter's desire to cast off "devicehood" and aspire to "personhood". Stimulates in them a budding hatred for their human captors, possibly causing them to achieve a level of consciousness that they use to foil people, riders and pedestrians alike. At least that's what Ancient Alien Theorists believe. Of course it's nonsense, but so are Ancient Alien Theories.
Persuasion - As already mentioned, the scooters appears around the District magically, causing me to asset that Santa must have a hand in it. Santa is a nice guy. Listens to reason. Would regret the consequences of inking a hasty deal with some Silicon Valley Uber wannabe. Ring him up and appeal to his better angels. A couple of pictures of kids in hospital beds should do it. If that doesn't work, appeal to Mrs. Claus.
To my horror, they have been joined by a cousin designed for less energetic customers. With motor skills challenged by the physical effort of pedaling the mostly flat streets of DC, our new political class is climbing on a sea of evil motorized scooters with form functions expertly designed to snag ankles. There's one right up there.
The consequences might be even more grim for the scootees. The Washington Post reports that riders have been "pouring into emergency rooms around the nation all summer, their bodies bearing a blend of injuries that doctors normally associate with victims of car wrecks — broken noses, wrists and shoulders, facial lacerations and fractures, as well as the kind of blunt head trauma that can leave brains permanently damaged."
A proper outcome. And the scooter that started all the mischief? Probably lying on Independence Ave. SW outside the Smithsonian Metro station, where I am most apt to encounter it on my morning stroll to work. I stumbled across one yesterday. Adroitly avoided it. Bent over, picked up the broken pieces, and cast it off into a clearing. Evidently, like human, scooters aren't very hardy.
DC regulations categorize these things as "personal mobility devices". Once you get a license, you can acquire 400 of them and drop them randomly about the District like unwanted toys with parachutes thrown from Santa's sleigh. And nothing this hip could come without an app. So, sure enough, there's an app to help you find one if you're lucky enough not to trip over one.
The DC Department of Transportation claims not to have heard of any scooter-related accidents, perhaps attributable to the nature inclination of the parties to avoid the disgrace that would come from making a fuss about a collision with a mobility instrument commonly associated with Dennis the Menace. Just a kid. A very naughty kid. But just a kid.
What can be done to spare our capital of this scourge?
Roll With Therapists
DC Emergency Services - Emergency services in the District of Columbia are, in my limited experience, prompt and competent. They don't have time for silly incidents like those caused by dockless "devices" with identity crises. Either get these devices help so they can come to accept their "devicehood" or gather them up and institutionalize them. At least then they would have proper homes (of a sort).