While longer-lasting portable power supply for mobile carts is fueling personal freedom for many who experience physical challenges, that same portable power is also sparking concern among some urban dwellers. They worry about the dangers of free-wheeling powered skateboards and scooters that can spook pedestrians and confound drivers. In fact, the issue has been accelerated by new membership-based organizations that encourage the collective use of personal scooters as a mode of powered transportation. These shared-economy groups use GPS signaling and remote smartphone technology to allow members to lock and leave their scooters anywhere they choose, where they can then be picked up and used by another member.
With no need for permanent docking stations or designated return depots, scooters are being abandoned in an unorthodox fashion, sometimes creating clutter and disruption in neighborhoods. Furthermore, as an increasing number of users rely on these scooters for commuting or other short-distance travel, municipalities are being forced to decide whether to restrict or prohibit their use on sidewalks or roads. Homeowners may find it is important to understand their local bylaws, and make their opinions known before the issue becomes a long-term concern.