Electric Scooter and Bike-Sharing Backlash Is Forcing Cities to Rethink Transit 2.0 Initiatives

Scooter

If you happen to live in, or have visited, a mid-size to large city in Canada or the United States over the past few years, you’ve likely seen a millennial cruise down the sidewalk on an electric scooter, sipping their Chai Tea latte on their way to eat some avocado toast at their local eating establishment. A modern play on the Razor scooters and Schwinn bikes of yester-year, these transit 2.0 systems are powered by rechargeable battery, rent by the minute to commuters in urban settings, and in some instances, can be left wherever the rider desires. These scooter and e-bike systems have popped up in cities around Canada and the United States, seemingly overnight. To some, these are seen as a salvation to the unending chaos and congestion of the urban commuting nightmare, and to others, they are simply a scourge on urban living.

Private companies that go by the name of Lime, Spin, Bird, MoGo, Divy, CitiBike, and others have slowly rolled out platforms to provide docked and dockless bike and scooter systems over the past few months. At times, this rollout has been in direct partnership with cities and community organizations as they look to expand the micro-transit infrastructure often lacking in urban cores and surrounding neighborhoods. But, as often the case, many of these systems have shown up abruptly, with little warning to the local community or government, and have left commuters and pedestrians to fend for themselves on city sidewalks and bike lanes. Unfortunately, the good-natured goal of these companies has often been cast by the wayside, literally, by local residents and city managers.

These companies have often envisioned their bikes and scooters to be utilized by residents and tourists as micro-commuting platforms throughout their neighborhoods and the city at large, as a means of filling the Last Mile gap left open by existing infrastructure. While some cities see these systems as another arrow in their transit infrastructure quiver, a growing group of local residents are finding these systems to be the bane of their existence. In many instances this discontent has been driven by the general lack of regulations surrounding their use and storage. Riders ride scooters and bikes in the road and on the sidewalk, with no regard for traffic patterns or traffic laws, and in some instance hitting pedestrians or cars, and driving off without providing information or assistance.

Cities are seeing harsh pushback from residents against these new aged scooters and bikes. In some instances finding them set on fire, thrown in bushes and trees, into waterways, into trashcans, and various other forms of vandalism. Their hatred hasn’t stopped there, with at least two Instagram pages, ScootersBehavingBadly and BirdGraveyard, recently being created where users can submit photos and videos showing their creative and destructive ways with these scooters and BirdGraveyard alone having more than 29,000 followers As a result, cities are starting to reconsider how these transit 2.0 systems can fit within their transit infrastructure web as a solution to the Last Mile issue.

We’ve previously discussed the Last Mile issue facing cities in our articles “Ride Sharing and Cities Team Up on Transit, Last Mile Issues”, “Fueled by Auto Industry Support, Bike Sharing Systems are Taking Over Cities”, and “Cities Need Autonomous Vehicles Just as Much as Autonomous Vehicles Need Roads to Drive Down”. In those articles we’ve discussed how even the most robust transit systems in cities around the US and the globe struggle with getting consumers from their origin to destination with ease. As we noted in those articles, the average commuter using bus, rail, or streetcar often have a mile or more of commute at the start and end of their trip left uncovered because traditional transit systems don’t adequately cover the route of the commuter. As a result, commuters often rely on other means of transit to get from point A to point B, including taxis, bikes, walking, ride-sharing, personal cars, and now electric scooter and bikes. While some cities are seeing these electric scooters and bikes as another means of filling the transit gap, there is a need to keep residents and non-scooter riders in mind within the transit framework and find that balance that fits for all stakeholders.

New Section 301 Tariffs Target Numerous Automotive-Sector Imports: Coping Strategies and Prospects for Product-Specific Relief

supply chain

Introduction

The automotive sector is getting a quick primer on the various ways in which the international trade laws can target automotive imports. In addition to the announcement of a potential Section 232 tariffs or other trade measures on imported automobiles and automotive parts (an investigation that is still ongoing), the Trump Administration now has announced a list of $200 billion in special Section 301 tariffs on over 6000 types of products imported from China. Although automotive parts are not specifically targeted, numerous products found in Chapters 39, 84, 85, and 90 – such as various polyvinyl chlorides, DC motors, antennas and antenna reflectors, electronic integrated circuits, and electric synchros – are commonly used by the automotive sector. Under the proposal, these and other identified products that fall within the $200 billion in identified tariff lines are being targeted for additional duties equal to 25 percent (adjusted upwards from the initial announcement of 10 percent) of the value of each import that falls within the listed HTS tariff lines.

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Court Rules Drivers Lack Standing to Pursue Claims Against Uber Because Data Breach Did Not Include Drivers’ Social Security Numbers

rideshare

California companies housing their drivers’ personal information may feel less exposed to liability in light of the Northern District of California’s holding in Antman v. Uber Technologies, Inc. in May.[1] The trial court in Antman found that Uber was not liable to its drivers after hackers illicitly accessed their personal information through Uber’s computer system.[2]

Plaintiffs Sasha Antman and Gustave Link alleged that the company failed to protect their personal information, as well as that of a putative class of individuals similarly situated.  Plaintiffs stated claims for violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), negligence, and breach of implied contract.[3][4]

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As Consumers Express Concerns Over Cybersecurity, Automakers and Public Officials Address Cybersecurity Strategy

Issues of cybersecurity in vehicles are high on consumers’ list of concerns in buying new vehicles. It also impacts public perception of self-driving cars, with a 2017 Cox Automotive survey finding 40% of consumers expressed hacking concerns as the biggest concern for self-driving cars. The concern is even greater outside of the United States, with 90% of consumers surveyed by Irdeto in Canada and the UK surveyed expressing concern over car hacking as a barrier to purchasing connected cars.

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Forecasting the North American Sales and Production Footprint in Uncertain Times

sales

The Center for Automotive Research (CAR)’s annual Management Briefing Seminars are being held this week in Traverse City, Michigan.  Tuesday’s sessions included an annual highlight of the conference: a detailed update and outlook on “Forecasting the North American Sales and Production Footprint in Uncertain Times,” presented by a panel of leading automotive forecasters, analysts and economists.  Unlike the more rosy tone from last year when I reported that “The Sky Is Not Falling,” this year’s themes could be summed up as:  “Risk, Disruption and Declining Peak.”  Most of the forecasts included only a modest decline (by historical standards) from sales of 17.2 million units in 2017 to somewhere in the mid-high 16 million units by 2020, but when combined with current trade and regulatory uncertainties the overall tone of the panel was more cautious this year. The other glaring theme from the panel, not only in North America but in many other world markets, was the continuing route of SUVs and CUVs over sedans, with a market share that is only expected to increase.

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