Who Killed the Electric Scooter? The Destructive Trend that is Pretending to be a Movement

Joshua A. Davies
Jul 11, 2018 · 5 min read
A casualty of the new trend, or ”movement”, against scooter-share companies Bird and Lime. (Photo credit: Bird Graveyard/Instagram)

I’ve recently become aware of the frighteningly popular, extremely careless trend of publicly destroying Bird and Lime electric scooters.

And by “destroying” I mean running them over with vehicles, throwing them off of buildings, tossing them in bodies of water and setting them on fire.

And those are just a few examples of how some of these scooters are treated as a result of this trend. Others are decimated and discarded in more cruel and creative methods.

Following the sudden popularity of this new rage, numerous accounts have appeared on social media dedicated to recording these acts and encouraging viewers to do the same in their own cities. The most popular of which is Bird Graveyard, which has amassed a whopping 7,000+ followers on Instagram at the time of this writing.

The Instagram caption for this unfortunate photo reads: “folks: we do not encourage throwing birds into the ocean. there are plenty of fountains, pools, firepits and tall buildings around for that.” (Photo credit: Bird Graveyard/Instagram)

And the justification for all of this destruction? The reasons vary depending on who you ask: some do it for entertainment, others believe they have the right to treat the scooters with such disregard since they’re not properly supervised.

Following the sudden popularity of this new rage, numerous accounts have appeared on social media dedicated to recording these acts and encouraging viewers to do the same in their own cities.

But according to a majority of the individuals who have defended this trend in Bird Graveyard’s comment section: Bird and Lime are “ruining cities” by overpopulating sidewalks with electric scooters. Therefore, they should consequently be punished by having their products demolished at the hands of local residents.

Now I should not have to point out the irony of this argument, considering these same individuals are leaving the remains of broken scooters on sidewalks, in alleyways, in bodies of water and elsewhere. Even when these destroyed scooters are “disposed of” afterwards, they’re not disposed of properly. Not to mention that this can quickly lead into a very expensive and very exhaustive problem for local governments to resolve.

But what is really concerning is how many of these individuals believe this destructive trend isn’t a trend at all, but rather a movement to rebel against Bird and Lime. They insist that it is not an excuse to carelessly damage scooters, but rather that it is a public outcry. And a very violent one at that.

A group of Bird scooters “disposed of” after being destroyed at the hands of a few angry locals. (Photo credit: Bird Graveyard/Instagram)

Despite this ongoing trend (or “movement”) of running over electric scooters and setting them on fire, I’m perhaps one of the few people who support Bird’s and Lime’s expansions in their own city. I believe the business model that both of these companies share is similar to that of ride-sharing companies in their early days: innovative, yet risky and flawed, but has potential for improvements and eventual success with the cooperation of its riders and supported destinations.

According to a majority of the individuals who have defended this trend in Bird Graveyard’s comment section: Bird and Lime are “ruining cities” by overpopulating sidewalks with electric scooters. Therefore, they should consequently be punished by having their products demolished at the hands of local residents.

As of now both Bird and Lime are providing riders with an accessible and cost-effective method to navigate around supported cities, which is especially beneficial for destinations like my hometown of Atlanta where traffic jams are more popular than sidewalks.

Both companies are also providing job opportunities to the destinations they offer their services to by hiring locals to pick up the scooters at the end of the day, charge them overnight and then release them back in the wild the following morning.

But Bird and Lime are not perfect. Far from it, actually. While some cities are issuing cease and desist letters until the proper business permits are acquired, others are banning or suing the companies outright. Or both. There’s also a valid concern of safety with riders and pedestrians sharing the same space. And do not get me started on the potential dangers of an unsupervised child riding an electric scooter that has a top speed of 15mph.

Like any reasonable city-dweller, I understand why some individuals would oppose the growth and expansion of Bird and Lime, despite being a firm supporter for scooter-share services. And as such, I believe these individuals have every right to express their disapproval, as long as it is expressed responsibly and appropriately without the need for pure anarchy.

Pure anarchy. (Photo credit: Bird Graveyard/Instagram)

Emailing city officials, submitting complaints to the BBB and promoting boycotts are just a few effective ways for concerned individuals to push back against Bird and Lime. There are also methods to encourage a healthier relationship between the scooter-share companies and cities by publicly acknowledging common concerns, providing and receiving constructive criticism, and making helpful suggestions that all parties can agree with.

I believe these individuals have every right to express their disapproval, as long as it is expressed responsibly and appropriately without the need for pure anarchy.

Destroying these scooters, recording the act and then sharing it on social media, however, is not only ineffective…it’s just cruel and immature. And at the end of the day the only thing an act like this accomplishes is fueling a misguided trend that is pretending to be something that it is not.

So whether you support Bird and Lime like I do or if you oppose them, which I respect and understand why you might, I think we can all agree that ruining our cities with destroyed electric scooters isn’t the right way to solve a concern of electric scooters ruining our cities.

Joshua A. Davies

Written by

Visual designer, tech enthusiast and modernist based in Atlanta.

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