Scooter Media Brief: Safety, Security, and Business Models Raise Concerns

Recent news has revealed some cracks in the pavement below the speedy wheels of electric scooter share.

Read Time: 4 minutes

March 13, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Scooter Citations

John Dvorak / Shutterstock

The last time Planetizen checked in with the world of electric scooter news, at the end of January 2019, it seemed possible to discern political and public support coalescing around the idea that electric scooters were here to stay.

It's harder to make that prediction in the middle of March 2019. Market conditions are changing as quickly as the pavement on any given street or sidewalk block in Los Angeles. 

A few narratives stick out from the many, many articles we gathered over the course of the past month and a half, and the chatter we've been monitoring on social media. First, concern persists about the physical safety of people who ride electric scooters. Second, there have been a couple of occasions to raise concerns about the security of scooter technology, both with the operation of scooters and the privacy of users. Finally, the electric scooter business is heavily reliant on subsidies from venture capital funding. The business model isn't exactly sustainable at its current prices, and we're only beginning to hear about the long-term viability of these companies. These issues are shared with transportation network companies, which have been busy buying out scooter and bike rental companies.  

National News

National Commentary

Local News

Local Commentary

International News

James Brasuell

James Brasuell is a writer and editor, producing web, print, and video content on the subjects of planning, urbanism, and mobility. James has managed all editorial content and direction for Planetizen since 2014 and was promoted to editorial director in 2021.


The Top Urban Planning Books of 2022

An annual list of the must-read books related to urban planning and its intersecting fields.

November 28, 2022 - James Brasuell

The  Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux is crowded with pedestrians in a lively European scene.

European Cities Act on Density

The sprawling mass of suburbia has been a disaster for the environment. But now smaller, denser cities herald a renaissance in city living.

November 20, 2022 - Wired Magazine

Victorian two-story buildings with retail shops in downtown Nashvile, Tennessee

Nashville Sets Downtown Parking Maximums

Nashville is the latest city to enact a substantive change to the parking requirements set by the city’s zoning code—doing away with parking minimums and setting parking maximums in the city’s Urban Zoning Overlay.

November 20, 2022 - The Tennessean

Home Sold Sign

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae to Back $1 Million Mortgages

Expensive housing markets are about to cross a symbolic threshold.

November 30 - The Wall Street Journal

The land locked Salton Sea, seen from the air, is surrounded by mountains, desert, and farm land.

Controversial Agreement Yields Funding for Salton Sea Restoration

An unprecedented, but deeply controversial, agreement changes the equation for the Colorado River and the Salton Sea.

November 30 - Palm Springs Desert Sun

People examining parked goMARTI vans at launch event

Grand Rapids Tests First Rural Autonomous Shuttle

The town launched a five-vehicle fleet aimed at improving mobility for residents in the rural community.

November 30 - The Daily Yonder

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.