Three tech startups bringing scooter sharing to San Francisco have run into an unexpected road bump: Activist vandals.
- San Francisco residents are vandalizing electric scooters and in one case, pooping on them.
- That's gross.
- The city has received numerous complaints about the scooters in recent weeks and has already begun impounding scooters parked illegally.
Some activist residents of San Francisco are apparently so outraged by the sight of electric scooters on city streets that they've resorted to extreme measures, including literally pooping on them.
Motherboard reported Tuesday that electric scooters around San Francisco have become targets of vandalization. Scooters have been seen with broken wiring, with stickers covering the QR codes that allow riders to unlock them, thrown into trashcans and, yes, even pooped on.
The scatological scooter sabotage comes as three separate startups — Bird, LimeBikes, and Spin — all recently began placing the two-wheeled vehicles throughout the city. The services all work similarly and bill themselves as environmentally friendly transportation alternatives.
Using a smartphone app, city residents can reserve a nearby scooter, ride around on it for a small fee, and, at the end of the journey, leave the scooter anywhere to be claimed by the next rider. Unlike many bike-sharing programs, the scooters don't need to be attached to a special dock, so riders can just hop off and walk away.
San Francisco officials say they have received numerous complaints about the scooters, claiming the scooters routinely block sidewalks and building entrances, cause people to trip, and make sidewalks less accessible to children and people in wheelchairs. Residents have also reported seeing riders on sidewalks, which is illegal.
In response to increased public pressure and complaints, the San Francisco City Attorney sent the scooter startups cease-and-desist letters last week, calling scooters public nuisances and a public safety hazard and has begun impounding scooters that are seen illegally parked. The city voted last week to require scooters companies to apply for a permit before operating in the city.