Vandals in Southern California are finding increasingly creative — and, at times, disgusting — ways of attacking electric scooters that some residents consider a nuisance, though many others find them a useful way of traveling short distances without using a car.
On a residential street in Santa Monica this week, this author saw a scooter from Bird — the disruptive company that first introduced electric scooters to the masses last year — labeled with a new sticker, in the style of the original, that read, “Turd.”
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) August 7, 2018
The Los Angeles Times reports that the phenomenon is widespread:
As cities from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills struggle to control a rapid proliferation of electric pay-per-mile scooters, some residents are taking matters into their own hands and waging a guerrilla war against the devices. These vandals are destroying or desecrating the vehicles in disturbingly imaginative ways, and celebrating their illegal deeds on social media — in full view of authorities and the public.
“They throw them everywhere: in the ocean, in the sand, in the trash can,” said Robert Johnson Bey, a Venice Beach maintenance worker who regularly comes across scooter parts on the Venice Beach boardwalk, Speedway and adjoining alleys.
Hailed as a cheap, clean-energy solution to urban gridlock when they first arrived in Los Angeles a year ago, Bird and Lime scooters now find themselves on the receiving end of a public and bureaucratic backlash — especially on the Westside, where they’ve established a buzzing omnipresence.
In Santa Monica, where Bird is headquartered, City Council members voted to cap the number of scooters on city streets while officials craft longer-term regulations. Beverly Hills officials ordered them banned for six months. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz asked officials last week to take “all available measures” to outlaw the scooters within the city.
The Times notes that few residents are complaining about the vandalism. Breitbart News’ Chriss Street noted last week that the city of Newport Beach outlawed electric scooters three days after they were introduced.
The attacks on scooters represent the most significant, and violent, anti-gadget backlash since attacks on Google Glass spectacles, and the “Glassholes” who wore them, in 2014.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.