Should Missoula Reconsider E-Scooter Rentals in Our Fair City?
Back in 2019 there was heated debate by the Missoula City Council whether or not to allow electric scooters rentals in Missoula with the possibility of a company entering the marketplace to rent out scooters. Words were thrown around like "bedlam" and "chaos" as the city tried to pre-emptively ban the rental of e-scooters. Recently I went to Spokane and saw electric scooters all over downtown.
They were on every block. They were on sidewalks, some in the way of where pedestrians need to walk, but not once did I see one laying in the street or blocking a car.
There were a lot of them. I also saw a lot of them in use, they were being used by people who were obeying the laws and using them as a form of transportation. They were being used by people safely. We walked all over downtown and not once did we have a close encounter with anyone on a scooter zipping by us going any faster than a bicycle does.
They also weren't only in the downtown area. We took a drive up to the Rose Gardens and Japanese Gardens in Manito Park (they are beautiful and tranquil this time of year, I recommend them for a relaxing stretch of the legs) and yes we saw electric scooters being used there as well, not in the gardens but within the park.
What we didn't see was "chaos" and "bedlam". We saw people using them as transportation and using them safely. Initially I was just as skeptical as most, reading stories about the scooters in bigger cities being thrown in rivers or being vandalized and stolen, but after seeing the amount of them in the area and how many of them were being used, I have changed my mind.
To be completely honest, we did see one electric bicycle that had a flat tire, but as far as the electric scooters went, they seemed to be in good shape and they were being used by many. Maybe it is time for Missoula to rethink an opportunity for a company rent e-scooters downtown or at least open up the discussion again.