Everybody is Scooting Around New York City.
I posted my glee about using the latest Unagi scooter on my W.I.S.E.R. newsletter. It’s been a warm winter, and I’ve been taking advantage of the convenience of popping around my neighborhood.
You would have thought that I shot someone.
Not so fast, Mr. Harris! You didn’t know that scooters were getting banned?
I had no idea how much animosity these litte vehicles were causing. But here is the latest item that buildings are going to be focused on over the next year. That’s right. It was COVID, then it was rats on the street. Now it’s e-scooters.
Yes, they’ve been catching fire. And there is plenty out there to scare people.
Building Banning E-Bikes?
There’s enough, in fact, that coop and condo boards are rethinking whether owners can have them in their buildings. Whether insurance companies will weigh in on their use remains to be seen. What I know is that at least one client who bought a $4000 version, only to find out that his building won’t let him charge is in his own apartment. Another told me his office building won’t allow him to bring his in, either.
Is It All Bad?
I spoke to a noted promoter of bicycle lanes and non-car transportation in general. What he had to say:
“The e-bike fires are mostly caused by delivery bikes which are cheap and aren’t UL certified. Or they’re caused by people running battery charging hubs with multiple or even dozens of batteries charging in one location. None of that would likely be happening in high-end real estate or most coops or condos on the city. So… Buildings should probably mandate that all e-bike batteries have UL certification, which would make them no more dangerous than a laptop battery.
Many of the major e-bike brands, though not all, use UL certified batteries.”
What’s Going to Happen?
I’m genuinely curious what is going to happen. Scooters are a marvelous way to avoid using cabs, ubers, and the like, just as they are getting VERY expensive (23% more expensive).
There are plenty of other dangerous household items that no one is looking to ban. Take microwaves, for instance. Despite the risks of operator error, there are few fires from people trying to nuke metal foil. And if gas stoves are getting the axe, it only has to do with wanting to eliminate gas use, not because of their risk in starting a fire!
That said, when even the manufacturers of scooters don’t have a foolproof solution, coops may react as they tend to react- by overreacting.
Stay tuned, folks. I, for one, am not optimistic. I’ll be a sad guy having to pony up for $20 local ubers to go crosstown…