City Government

Trash Talking Boise Scooters

Long-time reader Steve “Bikeboy” Hulme is a full-time bicycle commuter and obviously not a fan of motorized scooters or bikes, even with electric motors.

He has shared his thoughts with the GUARDIAN. He opens with a memo from the Downtown Business Association.

Boise will soon join a growing number of cities offering E-bikes and E-scooters as transportation options.

Two companies – Lime and Bird – will be the first to bring stationless E-scooters to our city in mid-October.

To plan for the devices hitting the streets this month, the City of Boise updated our bicycle code to allow for the arrival of this new model of transportation.

The City is requiring that Lime and Bird, along with any other company operating a stationless service, to have a fleet of at least 50 but no more than 250 devices. The City also set a limit of 750 total stationless devices to be allowed in the city.

The updated city code allows for:
– Stationless bicycles
– E-bikes with a motor that has a power output of no more than 750 watts and a top speed of 20 miles per hour
– E-scooters with a motor that has a power output of no more than 300 watts and a top speed of 15 miles per hour can be operated
They can be used within City of Boise limits:
– On streets
– On sidewalks and crosswalks
– In bike lanes
– On the 25 miles of Greenbelt paths managed by City of Boise

So – activate a scooter with your “smart phone,” and away you go. Just lock the scooter at the other end with your “smart phone,” and walk away.

Hipster Milennials, with a “smart phone” in one hand and a Starbucks in the other, maneuvering a 15mph electric scooter down the sidewalk? What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!!

Did our Overlords get ANY citizen input, as they updated the city code? Do they even care what traditional sidewalk users and Greenbelt users think? (I assume the Law Enforcers will be carrying some sort of watt-meter – you know like their loud-motorcycle noise meters – to make sure everyone remains in compliance.)

“NO MOTOR VEHICLES” on the sidewalk or Greenbelt… it seems so quaint now, doesn’t it?

There’s a 3-month trial period, which ends on January 15. Because if there aren’t problems or conflicts from October to January, SURELY there won’t be from June to September. (Sigh…)

Other questions that occur to me:
– What is the target demographic? (So far, pretty much every rider I’ve seen has been fairly young and healthy looking.)
– What is the intended benefit, for the community at large? Will Boise be even more “livable” if there’s less walking? (Nobody will ever convince me that these toys will replace very many car trips.)
And finally…
– Will the city be settling the lawsuits out of court? (You can bet that if the City Council sanctions 15mph electric vehicles on the sidewalk and Greenbelt, the crashes, injuries and lawsuits will follow.)

Okay, I’ve vented.


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I have seen 4 people riding them – ALL ON THE SIDEWALK!!!
    Get them out of here!

  2. Concerned Neighbor
    Oct 25, 2018, 7:24 pm

    I’ve had 2 groups on scooters fly by me within a foot while moving at top speed on a sidewalk over the last week. Just waiting for the wrecks to happen. Can’t call them “accidents” when its obvious what’s coming. They’ve failed in other cities (Meridian recently). Bieter is still shooting for “Most Unlivable City”.

  3. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 25, 2018, 9:31 pm

    It won’t be long before there is a fatality or critical injury involving these toys. Haven’t the idiots on the city council considered the possibility of riders being run over by trucks emerging from alleyways or colliding with small children or elderly? It’s bad enough already with the hipsters on fixed gear bikes frequently ignoring the rules of the road. This makes Boise less liveable, counter to Bieter’s stated goal.

  4. Burn Barrel
    Oct 25, 2018, 9:35 pm

    If I roast these things in my burn barrel is there any precious metals to be recovered?

  5. Just remember that scooters have not killed 2 people who were walking (in crosswalks) in the past week.

  6. Nay sayers.
    I’m sure when the Ford Model T came along, the comments were very much the same:
    “It won’t be long before there is a crash between one of these toys and a buggy”

    As Clancy points out, cars are more dangerous than a 10 lb skate board.

    Would the comments be the same if there were groups of RUNNERS running on the sidewalk…about the same speed for a fast runner?

    That being said,,,, I don’t like the scooters and don’t think Boise is in need of such things.
    Yes, less vehicles due to the terrible parking and traffic in Downtown is a goal.

    BUT the answer is WALK!!!!!

    Boise is not so big– we don’t need a trolley to go 8 blocks and we don’t need a bunch of metal junk on our sidewalks.
    IF someone so desperately needs an electric scooter- go BUY one. Take it with you. Don’t leave it on the sidewalk. Don’t buzz a patron right as they walk out a door onto the sidewalk.
    The city of Boise does not need to subsidize or encourage such chaos. The GreenBikes fall in the same. Just not a good fit.

    I predict a novelty.
    So those of us in opposition can have some patience and when the shiny toy dulls a little; and those promoter businesses go out of business… it will be back to normal. Horses and buggies.

    Personally, I’m waiting for the single rider injury. Our DT roads are so bumpy there is bound to be the face-plant digger when a front wheel hits one of our “asphalt features”.
    Video time!

  7. Eamonn Harter
    Oct 26, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Both Bird and Lime are funded by venture capital firms attempting to make a quick buck in the current era of financial lunacy. But fear not, this era is ending. Interest rates are continuing their inexorable rise as the Fed withdraws liquidity ($50 billion per month), which will bring back discipline to financial markets. Bird and Lime are definitely not comparable to Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company which took raw iron ore and turned it into finished cars in the same factory. Both have only existed since 2017 as per Wikipedia. As for casualties, you must compare apples to apples: injuries/fatalities per mile travelled.

  8. I am generally in favor of the scooters as it means more allies for those getting around on foot or bike. 45% of scooter riders in Portland have never ridden a bike for transportation. I am not in favor of bad behavior, but it is probably comparable to bad behavior with other transportation modes ( car, bike, foot).

    Pedestrian deaths are at on all time high according to Idaho Walk Bike Alliance. Where is the outrage for this?

    “Pedestrian deaths in Ada County have now hit a 7 year high in 2018 with 6 fatalities with more than two months of the year left. Annual pedestrian deaths in Ada County ranged from two to four from 2012 to 2016.

    Oct 24, 58 year old Sam Willie Jr.

    Oct. 16, Sandy Jaqueline Hernandez-Nuno

    Aug. 25, an 83-year-old woman Glenys. E. Jenson

    Aug 6, 23 year old Nickolas G. Cerecerews

    July 13, a 66-year-old man

    Jan 10, 20 year old Abdulaziz Madallah Ayedh Alenezi.

    Aug 13 cyclist 70 year old Joann Baker

  9. Clancy, you are certainly correct about the lack of outrage over pedestrian casualties. Apparently we as a society have concluded that we can live with the collateral damage from inattentive driving, walking, etc. (How many of those fatalities can be fully attributed to the motorist? Every day I see pedestrians who are oblivious to their surroundings – almost always totally focused on that “smart phone” and seemingly depending on their Invisible Force Field to keep them from danger.) Of course, as a rule, inattentive pedestrians, cyclists, scooteristas, etc., are only exposing themselves to mortal danger, unlike inattentive motorists who routinely kill and maim innocents in their path of destruction.

    Since we have oblivious motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, why not add oblivious E-scooter riders to the mix, huh?

  10. Yossarian_22
    Oct 28, 2018, 9:29 am

    These scooters seem more like a social engineering signal than a serious alternative transportation effort. You can’t pack much payload with you, beyond a backpack. I’ve noticed that these things are parked in 3 or 4s at corners or schools. Does someone go find these things every day and return them to the staging sites? Is that a City paid job? They all have GPS trackers. Will we be finding them in the canal soon? Will we see them in impromptu MX competition for a jolly afternoon of hijinx? Scooter drag racing on your own street? Why not?

  11. Adapt and accept. These scooters aren’t going anywhere. I rode one last night, tremendous.

  12. Yossarian_22
    Oct 31, 2018, 11:03 am


    For $50 to $100 bucks, or maybe even free on Craigslist, you can have a good bike and get real exercise. No batteries to worry about. More payload, more range, trailer capable. And YOU own it.

  13. They have a motor,they have wheels,
    they have enough velocity to equal that of some cars, motor scooters, and for sure a bike. Keep them off the sidewalks.As tax payers we pay to construct, and maintain our side walks they are for WALKING NOT Vehicular Traffic.
    It is a pedestrian safe zone. Change the law and ticket the violators!

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