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Electric scooters litter city streets. Courtesy | Pixabay

Deep within the furnace of my soul burns a fire roaring with rage. It is not fueled by any man, creature or idea, but by the rentable scooters that litter Wash­ington, D.C. 

These electric scooters are available on every street corner and can be easily rented on a smart­phone. When a person is fin­ished with a ride, a scooter can simply be left on the sidewalk or the grass, waiting for its next user. Who could have a grievance with this system?

I have several.

The ability to leave scooters any­where means scooter messes every­where. Beau­tiful D.C. mon­u­ments, parks, and public spaces are sullied by ugly lime green or neon pink scooters. Renters often throw scooters to the ground when their rides are com­plete, cre­ating traps and obstacles for people just trying to walk. 

If these scooters were con­fined to only one part of the city, it would be pos­sible to avoid them — I could visit museums, mon­u­ments, or restau­rants in scooterless areas. But there’s no escape: scooter com­panies have placed more than 10,000 in the D.C. Metro area, according to the D.C. City Council. It is impos­sible to roam around without seeing (and tripping over) a couple of scooters. 

Another great feature of these machines is the loud, incessant beeping that they emit when they are low on battery. There is nothing better than a quiet, afternoon walk inter­rupted by a blaring, alarm-emitting scooter blocking the path. 

You will not be sur­prised to learn that scooter-users are as equally obnoxious. In a week’s time, three riders have reck­lessly buzzed by me. No warning, no “On your left,” only the shock as a large adult male blazes by you on a motorized scooter. One rude rider might have been an accident. But three rude riders is a pattern. 

The solution?

Walk. Everyone would be much better off if side­walks remained exclu­sively for people. D.C. is an opportune city for walking — there are also con­ve­nient Metro ser­vices that can get you any­where in the dis­trict quickly and safely. Finally, Uber and Lyft usually take less than five minutes to pick you up. With con­ve­nient options like these, D.C. should scuttle electric scooters and make side­walks usable for everyone.