It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday: As Dallas Parts Ways With Electric Scooters, A Look Back At The Relationship’s Greatest Hits.

Dallas officials are implementing a multi-pronged approach in response to Deep Ellum’s crime spike and car stunts continuing to scourge the greater Downtown Dallas area:

  • Effective immediately, the Dallas Police Department is enforcing an 11 p.m. weekday and midnight weekend juvenile curfew on all persons under the age of 17 in Deep Ellum, West End, Farmers Market, Uptown, Victory Park and the Central Business District.
  • In an effort to “crack down on street racers,” Dallas Public Works will this weekend implement what Dallas City Council member David Blewett calls a trial “road diet” that will result in street closures, lane closures and other “traffic calming devices” being placed in speeding hot spots throughout the downtown area. These elements will be in place throughout the long weekend from 6 p.m. until the early morning hours. If successful, this practice could be tacked on to earlier council-passed measures meant to curb street racing and stunting.
  • Because of “safety concerns,” Blewett and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano have led an effort to see Dallas ending its two-plus-year partnership with electric rental scooters, citing operators’ failure to hold up their ends of the agreement (which were to include shutting off all scooters after midnight in certain areas). All such operations in the city were to be formally suspended on Wednesday, September 2; operators are expected to have their scooters entirely off the streets at some point on Friday, September 4.

That last measure has come under some criticism.

Meme by Alec Spicer.

No, not everyone in city government is necessarily on board with the decision — especially considering how, in March, city council voted to continue its scooter partnerships under already-increased regulations.

Mayor Eric Johnson, who couldn’t be bothered to attend the majority of Wednesday’s city budget-focused council meeting, posted on Twitter that he was “was surprised by this decision.”

Either way, what’s done is done. And with Dallas’ awkward two-year relationship with scooters now complete, let’s take a look back at its most memorable moments.

Dallas’ Electric Scooter Greatest Hits

Former city council member Philip Kingston zips along Dallas City Plaza on an electric rental scooter.

  • A mere two months into the mass arrival of scooters on Dallas’ streets, a young man was found dead in East Dallas after having suffered an injury while trying to ride his scooter home from work late at night.
  • In February 2019, now-former Dallas City Council member Kevin Felder was accused of striking a scooter rider with his car and then fleeing the scene. Whether Felder actually did that, we don’t know; but we do know that he knocked over a local news cameraman who was trying to get a comment from him on the matter:

  • While it’s unclear how many deaths over the last two years in Dallas may have involved scooters, a 2019 study said scooter-induced injuries accounted for at least $1.4 million in hospital costs in their first year of operations alone.
  • Still, young people in particular took to these electric scooters — not just in the name of mobility, but out of affection for the chaos wrought through scooter flash mobs and related stunts:

  • As scooters continued to grow in popularity, the devices themselves even morphed into newer, more-advanced forms.
  • Likewise, as an increasing number of people took advantage of the accessibility, more and more of them started riding them on the sidewalks as opposed to the streets, and most particularly in congested, walkable neighborhoods where such riding was ostensibly prohibited for safety reasons — not just for pedestrians dodging oncoming riders but also for the riders themselves:

  • Scooters became a pointed talking point in the neighborhood of Deep Ellum in particular, where business owners and neighborhood associations collaborated on a prominent poster and sign campaign that alerted any and all to the fact that “Scooters Are Not Allowed On Sidewalks In Deep Ellum.” The effort had mixed results, but it at least produced some art.
  • In the summer of 2019, the absurdity of Dallas’ scooter relationship reached its peak as a video went viral for capturing a man coolly riding a scooter through traffic on I-35E. The video was so shocking, it got Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to publicly back off his “less government” stance and call for increasing regulations on the urban mobility devices.

* * * * *

It was a wild run, folks.

Will we ever see a such a roller coaster of a public transportation debate again?

Y’know, we might actually.

But, as those of us who live through the scooter dalliance will always know, it just won’t be the same.

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