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Bye Bye Birdie!!!

Jan 23, 2019 12:49PM ● By Flint Zerangue, Sr.

Lafayette, LA -- Oh Happy day!!! I was overjoyed to hear the news about LCG Mayor-President Joel Robideaux contacting the rent-a-ride e-scooter companies Bird and Lime to have their products removed from the streets of Lafayette. 

In a letter to the companies, Robideaux made a request for a voluntary pause of their operations in the parish to allow the time needed to address current state law.  

But why? Aren't shared mobility devices such as e-scooters the wave of the future? Aren't they designed to ease transportation issues, save energy, bring more people downtown, etc, etc...  Hardly!  

I'm not against e-scooters in general--they're actually fun to ride. But they have no place being scattered across our community, and here's why:

1. They are not legal to ride on public streets. Yet they are, and public officials have no true means of controlling it for now. 

2. They create HUGE liability risks for everyone and everything. Don't believe me? Ask your insurance provider if you or your business could be sued and held liable if someone walks in front of your house or store and trips over a scooter making them fall... 

3. E-scooters are not as environmentally friendly as you think. Really. Every day or so each scooter needs to be charged. And how is that done? By plugging it into an electrical socket. A socket that receives its electricity from a coal, natural gas, or nuclear powered generator. 

4. E-scooters are powered by a lithium battery, the lifespan of which is quite short. Depending on the manufacturer, an e-scooter battery will need to be replaced every 300 to 1000 charges, which brings up an entirely different environmental problem--the disposal of lithium batteries. 

5. E-scooters are not aesthetically appealing to our community. The City of Lafayette prides itself on being a clean city, and over the past decade has won multiple Clean City awards. 

6. They block sidewalks and are trip hazards, which hinders pedestrian mobility--especially those with disabilities. 

In November 2018, four Lafayette citizens, one of which was Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, received the Governor's Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities (GOLD) Award in recognition of and to pay tribute to the achievements and dedication of individuals who have inspired positive change within the disability community. 

Keeping the scooters would seem like a giant step backward.  

7. There is no operational training available for users prior to hitting the streets and that is a big public safety issue.  

I'll spare you my thoughts on how much I dislike the apps being used to operate these scooters. I mean, if you're okay with sharing all of your personal information with a company who's most likely going to sell it to God knows who--well, that's your business. 

And that my friends, is why I'm happy to see them Geaux!!!

  Opinion by Flint Zerangue, Sr.

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