Opinion

Scooters? Bikes? Let’s (po)go our own way, Charlotte

Scooter Safety: 4 things to know

Popular Charlotte scooters are whizzing by. Here is what the companies tell the riders to keep them safe.
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Popular Charlotte scooters are whizzing by. Here is what the companies tell the riders to keep them safe.

Well, Queen Citizens, it’s official. Any day now we should expect to see four horsemen riding in the western sky. I say this because earlier this summer, a Swedish startup announced plans to deploy pogo sticks as a transportation option in San Francisco.

That’s right, it’s the City by the Bay where pogo sticks will be beta-tested. A land whose curvy roads are rain-soaked and fog-cloaked, all running downhill into a giant body of water. What could possibly go wrong?

Dedicated readers of my scribbling – both of them – will recall how I warned of the coming infantilization of transit. While I was being facetious, the joke appears to be on me.

Commuting by pogo stick? For this did our Founding Fathers pledge their sacred honor, that a man might blithely bounce to work like some insouciant kid in a Mentos commercial? Like naming a cologne “Zookeeper”, surely this is a bad idea.

So many questions, so little time. Must two people pogo together on one stick to utilize HOV-lanes? If a dockless bike, an electric scooter and a pogo stick meet simultaneously at a three-way stop, who has right-of-way? Does the answer change if anybody is listening to Moby?

We as a country seem determined to try every bad idea in order to leave ourselves only the good ones. To save entrepreneurs time and their investors dollars, I hereby disclose five recent “last-mile transit” ventures for the Carolinas in which I’ve invested, and the reason I lost my shirt on each:

Let’s Conga, Congaree. By all accounts South Carolina commuters enjoyed themselves in my conga lines. They just never made it to the office, finding it more pleasing simply to stay on-conga. If you see a particularly festive line led by Irene from accounts payable - who’s probably in Orlando by now - tell her don’t bother coming back to work.

Unionville is for Unicycles. My mistake here was outfitting not only commuters but traffic cops with unicycles. When the serious matter of police pursuit ensued, everyone laughed like they were watching a whimsical chase scene on “Benny Hill”.

Are You Ready to Tandem, Tryon? A little more thinking around logistics might have served me well. Too often, my lead driver liked the mountains while my rear-pedaller preferred the sea. Plus all it takes is one rider who won’t stop yelling “I’ve got a bogey on my tail” to destroy your social media brand.

Moonwalk, Maggie Valley! You think pedestrians distracted by their cellphones are annoying? Wait until you see the gridlock at rush hour when eastbound and westbound moonwalkers conk heads. Think “West Side Story” violence, minus the snapping and slick choreography.

Synchronized Statesville. Who says only swimmers can be synchronized? I should have, that’s who. I’m not sure the idea was terrible. It just turned out on my maiden voyage, one pedestrian in the pair suffered the paranoid delusion that he was being followed. Dumb luck, that.

Here’s the deal, Charlotte. We failed to spike the dockless bike, and then got neutered by electric scooters. If it ever comes down to it, let’s be sure to vote no-go on the pogo.

Kerrigan is a Charlotte attorney. Email: mikekerrigan29@gmail.com
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