merging mobility and civility

Extemporaneous Postulation

The micro-mobility craze has arrived!  Head for the hills!

The micro-mobility craze has arrived!  Head for the hills!

Or not.  What are we to make of the craze?  For those of us interested in the city as the construct for resilient living, the addition of electric scooters and bike share to the transportation mix portends two positive trends: distance and demand.  

Distance.  At the end of the day, the distance that you will want to travel on a scooter or bike, electric or otherwise, is limited.  Unlike a car, that you could drive coast to coast, after about 1/2 hour, you’ll be done with the scooter.  I used to bike 45 minutes to work (I pedaled at a “no sweat” pace), and that was about enough.  Maybe with an e-bike, you can go longer/further, but there is a limit.  

All this is to say that the bike-able and scoot-able city will be compact.  If we need to go farther, we’ll take the train then another e-scooter at the other end.  Compact cities are resilient.

Demand.  With everyone (it seems) taking to micro-mobility, the demand for places to ride will only grow.  We saw this with bikes in the late-19th Century, with cars in the mid-20th Century, and with bike lanes more recently.  Those bike lanes, however, were designed largely for single file cycling.  They generally are not wide enough for people riding together, people on scooters, bikes with trailers, the speed of e-bikes, e-skateboards, and the rest of the micro-mobility potpourri.  

So we are going to need more and wider bike lanes, protected bike lanes, cycle tracks, bike paths, et al.  This will mean fewer/narrower lanes for motorized traffic and/or less on-street parking. Cities with more bike lanes are resilient.

Here is a good piece on the subject: