Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 35 JUST SAYIN' Illustration by Carrie Neumayer You have to wonder: What exactly was the strategy in the surprise rollout of hundreds of electric scooters here and in other U.S. cities this past spring and summer without so much as a word of warning (or a word of promotion)? Did the highly capitalized tech upstarts responsible for the "launch" — Bird, Lime, Spin — expect to be booted out so summarily (Louisville officials sent them packing within 36 hours before inviting Bird back for a cleared trial run) or were they in fact dumbfounded by such a negative reaction to what was, after all, a commer- cial venture involving positive aspects like affordable ($1 up front and 15 cents per mile) and environmentally friendly urban transportation? I'm thinking the former. Knowing that the cities they invaded weren't prepared to regulate a fleet of mini-vehicles that — at a maximum speed of 15 mph — were too slow for the roads and too fast for the sidewalks, they barged in with their nifty throwbacks to adolescence to win over the hearts, minds and kid-fancies of trend-con- scious customers before city governments could deny them access on the grounds that the scooters might pose a danger, a nuisance or a combination of the two. But I'm also thinking the latter. In pollution-wary downtowns and urban neighborhoods, how could you not welcome a genuine solution to carbon-fueled modes of getting around town? Who knew there would be such a big cultural backlash? Reports of e-scooters illegally zipping down sidewalks and piles of heedlessly discarded scooters blocking sidewalks and driveways led to reports of miffed citizens heaving the things into garbage cans and dumpsters. One news and opinion site, Vox, described bugged pedestrians who saw scooter riders as "the epitome of tech-bro arrogance." Another site, TechCrunch, noted that the riders "can ooze a kind of brash entitlement. The sweatless convenience looks like it might be mostly enabling another advance in tech-fu- eled douche behavior as a T-shirt-wearing alpha nerd zips past, barking into AirPods and inhaling a takeaway latte." Wow, given the scooters' clean-air upside, that's some serious social conflict. After inviting a chastised Bird back under a temporary agreement that ends this month and paid the city a $1,000 license fee plus $50 per scooter (maximum fleet: 100), Louisville — like other cities — is no doubt weighing public-safety costs versus revenue-stream benefits as it works out a longer-range deal, which may well have been completed by the time you read this. — JW Boot Scooter Boogie Somebody's giving the Bird and somebody's getting it. on the bike, though, he's face to face with you — on the same plot of nature. While you are perfectly happy to be alone, pausing to watch a family of deer or perhaps an owl perched up high on a sycamore branch, the old guy on the bike wants to exercise his expertise, to reinforce his relevance. ough his former co-workers may be mighty glad to be shed of him, he never should have retired. He still wants to be the boss. is past summer, I took to wearing ear buds at all times inside the park. Often I was listening to nothing at all, but as any mass-transit rider in any city across the world knows, ear buds are the perfect way of signaling, "I can't hear you. Moreover, I don't want to hear you." e technique remained useful until the day a guy on one of those reclin- ing-seat cycles called out, "NEVER wear ear buds when you're riding." is man himself was blasting out REO Speedwagon on a mini jam box, for all of the park to hear. Shortly thereafter I went on hiatus from cycling and took instead to hiking the trails in the woods above and around the bustling lanes of Cherokee Park. I found it tranquil to be elevat- ed over the constant flow of runners, pedestrians, oversized baby strollers, un- ruly dogs, motorcycles, cars, trucks and, most especially, unasked-for instruction. But what do you suppose I happened upon next? In the woods, there's a whole other breed of cyclist: young'uns on mountain bikes who ignore all signs indicating the rule to yield to pedes- trians. ese boys do not apologize for knocking a walker off the path. No, ma'am. It almost made me miss the geezers. Nah. What it did was send me to the cem- etery for my daily workout. I figure it's better to be there, upright, of my own accord, than to be there because some guy in a Tour de France getup scared the life out of me. — Mary Welp

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