I attended and spoke at the December 4th Goleta city council meeting at which they brought forward an urgency ordinance to ban the operation of on demand scooter sharing services (Lime, Bird) in the city of Goleta.
There were 34 speaker slips submitted and the meeting did not end until 10:30pm. Public comments appeared to be split 50/50 in favor/opposition to the ban. I do take some issue with the business practices of Bird and Lime but I believe the benefits of scooter sharing programs outweigh the cost.
There were many other speakers more eloquent and prepared than I that spoke to the social, economic and environmental benefits to transportation alternatives, so I kept my time short. Here’s what I said as best as I can recall:
Good evening council members, thanks for having me.
I live in Isla Vista and work just around the corner here. I do occasionally, when I’m too lazy to ride my bike, take a Bird to work. If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Bird invasion of Goleta, I’m definitely a case.
I’d like to speak to some of the perceived hazards of the scooters. First, is the supposed danger of them. They can’t be any more dangerous than bicycles, and as some of the first responders here can attest, certainly no more dangerous than cars, which kill 20,000 Americans a year.
The other is this idea that they are somehow visually offensive. I live on a street with street parking and when I leave my house in the morning I certainly don’t appreciate having to see someone’s 6 inch lifted Ford F-650 parked out front nor do I like to see a Prius covered in kombucha and yoga stickers. See all of this is relative and I think what we’re seeing is a knee jerk reaction.
I do think these companies need to be regulated, but I don’t think they should be banned outright. So I ask you please do not do anything rash.
In the end, to nobody’s surprise, the ordinance to ban scooter share companies passed.