By Nancy Black
Am I the only one left in Dallas who remembers the monumental failure of moped rentals in the mid-70s? It sure seems that way. Not only have our community leaders destroyed our beloved city’s streets by allowing undocked bike-sharing loose on our neighborhoods, they have now unleashed rental scooters onto our already busy roads. Scooters, for goodness sakes; available to any fool with a credit card, which is everyone these days.
A moped (MOH-peds) is kind of like a small motorcycle but they have less licensing requirements than a Harley because their top speed is only around 15 MPH. An electric scooter, on the other hand, kind of looks like a skateboard with a handle, but it can actually propel riders forward without any effort from the user and it can reach top speeds of 30 MPH.
Back in the days of our carefree youth, my friends and I couldn’t wait for the weekends, when we could rent mopeds and zoom around our neighborhoods without a care in the world. All we had to do was score (sometimes unknowingly to them) one of our parent’s credit cards. We would then rent enough mopeds for our click of girls and all proudly ride off on our adventures. We loved the freedom and power controlling our own “vehicle” provided. That is, until we all started suffering from deep wounds and bloody gashes because of the accidents we started having on those mopeds. And we still have the scars to prove it.
Those accidents were absolutely preventable. Granted, this was long before helmet laws and other safety riding gear were even considered; society was just being introduced to shoulder strap seatbelts in automobiles, for goodness sakes. But we should know better today.
Sure, the companies who now make billions (yes, with a B) from their bike and scooter-sharing services have rules printed on their products, which they ideally expect users to follow. They are: “Ride safely, helmet required, license required, no riding on sidewalks, no double riding, 18+ years to ride.” How do the kids say it these days? LMAO!?
I was driving through Victory Park on Tuesday and saw a group of girls, about the same age my friends and I were during our moped days, renting the new scooters in downtown Dallas. They all had cell phones, so there goes the riding safely rule. Not one of them had a helmet. And they couldn’t have been a day over 14, so no licenses or 18+ people in the bunch. There also wasn’t anyone in sight to regulate the rules the girls were preparing to break.
I believe our city leaders mean well by doing all they can to make Dallas a hip and happening city, but I think they need to put on the brakes when it comes to all these unregulated bike/scooter-sharing programs. Trust me. You’re going to get hurt!