Electric scooters are off the streets again.
First, the coronavirus outbreak prompted scooter-share companies to remove the devices in March. Just recently more of the two-wheelers were starting to be available to rent again. Now protests in most American cities are keeping the scooters off the road again. Last week George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, igniting protests against police brutality.
Bird and Scoot, both with scooters in cities that are now under curfew like Santa Monica and San Francisco, decided to remove its vehicles where it wasn’t considered safe in a bid to comply with any curfews. The company is working with local government agencies to decide when it’s safe to bring the scooters back.
It’s a similar situation for Lime, as a spokesperson explained in an email. The statement read “Lime has removed scooters from streets and paused service in select U.S. cities following the directives of local regulators. Safety is our top priority and we are actively working with cities to balance this with the need for affordable transportation options.”
For Bird, Lime, Scoot, and other scooter companies planning to return to service, new cleaning protocols, adjusted pricing, and free programs for healthcare and frontline workers, among other features were added in recent weeks to make riders feel more comfortable and willing to use the devices.
Scooters have the allure of a private transportation option that didn’t involve riding the bus or subway with a group of people. When the protests began, they paused any momentum.