Emily Shryock just wanted to get to work at her job in the disability services office of a local university near her Austin, Texas home. But by 9:05 a.m. on August 20, her path had been blocked three times by Bird Scooters — and she’d had enough.
“Another day in paradise,” she posted to Facebook. “Folks need to realize not everyone has the privilege of being able to walk around these obstacles to continue on their way to work, school or play!”
Nearly 3,000 people shared her post when lovewhatmatters.com invited her to write about these “dockless mobility devices” that increasingly block city sidewalks. Since there aren’t always designated places to park some of these new toys, “they have ended up on sidewalks, ramps, yards and other inconvenient places,” wrote Shryock. “The folks who charge the scooters at night and place them out in the morning had chosen one strip of sidewalk to set up three scooters perpendicular to the sidewalk — effectively blocking anyone from using the sidewalk without forcing them to go over or around the scooters.”
As a testament to what a pain these devices are for many more people than just Shryock, her story has been picked up by local radio and television stations, and other websites. Whether her plea will impact companies like Bird, Lime, GOAT and Pace whose users carelessly block the sidewalks remains to be seen.
Here are some of the comments from her Facebook post:
Dana Gruber: I know that the city is still trying to figure out the specific rules that the scooter companies have to follow. I see the benefits, but they all just got dumped on Austin without any planning or collaboration. I see them blocking sidewalks constantly. And the bike community isn’t very happy either because people also leave them in bike lanes and at bike locking spots.
Julie Fritz: They dumped them in Indianapolis, too, but the city rebelled and they removed them for a period of time until the city could figure out some regulations. People were so upset about them being abandoned all over town that quite a few ended up in the canal nearby!
Lisa Constantine: You are too nice, I would have tried to knock them over
Nicole Ondrush Bennett: As a person who charges these once in awhile, this post is helpful. I feel like I put them out well out of the way of obstructing anyone’s way, but seeing this also really confirms why it’s so important to MAKE SURE to keep them out of the way! I’ll share this on the charger pages I belong to. Hopefully it will bring more awareness to how important it is to place them correctly.