There’s Something About Scooters

In September, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a plan to triple the size of the city’s protected bike lane network by the end of 2021. Following in the footsteps of similar declarations by mayors of denser, bluer cities, the network expansion—from 4 to 12 miles—isn’t particularly ambitious. But Atlanta’s cycling plan is notable because of its impetus: the surging popularity of shared e-scooters, and the road safety issues they lay bare.

Atlanta’s “Action Plan for Safer Streets” is perhaps the most significant example of the scooter craze actually influencing policy and infrastructure in American cities, but it’s not the only one. Scooter companies—buoyed by their fees, data, and millions of new two-wheeled street users—have begun to push cities, especially those that have historically had few cyclists, to rethink their auto-centric street designs.