LOS ANGELES – Jonathan Freeman, angry about electric scooters that have inundated his hometown of San Diego, came to an urban mobility conference here demanding solutions.
Pedestrians' "lives are being destroyed by unregulated scooters," he said from the audience during a session on whether "micro-mobility" devices like scooters are here to stay. "We are losing the right to go for a walk."
Freeman's comments sparked a debate about the safety of scooters last week at L.A. CoMotion, a transportation conference drawing innovators and transit companies from across the U.S. to discuss what organizers call "the urban mobility revolution." As manufacturers showed off the latest gear and products, including scooter chargers, electric bikes and even electric unicycles – one entrepreneur boasted his electric skateboards are capable of speeds up to 25 miles per hour – city officials and pedestrians fretted over what to do about increasingly crowded sidewalks, providing a dose of reality to the mostly sunny outlooks on innovative ways of getting around in crowded cities.