City officials continue to tout the scooter invasion as an edgy, smart strategy to provide environmentally friendly transportation, especially for that “last mile” before work or school. But is that true?
A good deal of research can be found online and comes to differing conclusions. One metric used often involves how much of a carbon savings there is when scooters are used instead of cars. These studies say scooters are magnificent sustainability tools for last-mile travel in cities.
Other studies question whether use of electric scooters, especially in coal-dependent states such as Indiana, really do cut down on carbon emissions.
One key point: Bloomington isn’t a big city with trains and buses that get people to within a mile of their destination, then require a last-mile solution.
Another key point: Anecdotal evidence — the simple eye test — would suggest that a majority of scooter riders are college-age students who would most likely be riding bicycles, walking or taking buses rather than driving cars into the city. Walking is more friendly to the environment and personal health than the scooters.
City regulations should come ASAP to mitigate the annoyances and dangers to pedestrians and the riders themselves in the short term. In the long term, the issue of whether scooters in major university towns actually mitigate carbon emissions or add to them would be a good job for a doctoral student in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Being mesmerized by the coolfactor of this innovation should not be an option.