The Guardian got a huge dump of Uber documents from their former chief lobbyist in Europe and — surprise! — Uber played dirty. The main revelations so far:
- Uber walked in the door and operated their business knowing that it was illegal and then lobbying to overturn the laws.
- In six countries, senior Uber execs ordered the use of a “kill switch” to delete documents if Uber offices were being raided by police.
- Emmanuel Macron, the former VP of the European Commission Neelie Kroes, a bunch of UK government ministers and others were secretly lobbied and did not disclose their various connections with Uber.
Maybe the best part of the intro piece is Uber’s response:
In a statement, Uber’s senior vice-president of public affairs, Jill Hazelbaker, said: “We have not and will not make excuses for past behaviour that is clearly not in line with our present values. Instead, we ask the public to judge us by what we’ve done over the last five years and what we will do in the years to come.”
We did it but Travis is gone so better now! I guess that’s one way to handle it.
Since the source of the story is Uber’s European lobbyist, it’s Eurocentric, but of course here in the former colonies we’ve already been thoroughly fucked by Uber and Lyft. Anyone who has taken a rideshare trip recently has noticed that they’re no longer cheap — since they’ve destroyed the cab business (which, let’s face it, wasn’t great or cheap), they are now jacking up prices and will continue to do so now that their investors are done subsidizing rides and want some profit.
They’re also getting into competition with dockless scooter and bike companies. Here’s an example of what the dockless scooter world looks like in Denver:
This is the entrance of our hotel, and it was a common sight, since the assholes that ride these things just park them in front of wherever they’re riding. You won’t find a bigger supporter of bike infrastructure than me, and I commuted by bike for years, but fuck these things. (I think the scooter in front of the Lime one is a Lyft one, but I’m not sure.)
Our urban leadership has mainly been convinced that we must careen from a perhaps overly regulated taxi system to a total free-for-all of ridesharing companies. It’s way past time to clamp down on Uber, Lyft and the like, but unfortunately I’ll bet our politicians were lobbied in the same way as the Europeans. They’ve been convinced that a chimerical free-market Tinkerbell sprinkles the fairy dust of success over these companies, and she’ll be killed by even a little bit of regulation.
So, don’t hold your breath waiting for regulation. If you’re a woman traveling alone, watch yourself, because sexual assault by rideshare drivers is a real thing. As for everyone else, watch your step and don’t trip over the god damned scooters.
What type of regulation are you looking for? The only push I am aware of is the attempt to get them to treat drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.
comrade scotts agenda of rage
Denver resident and I can attest to the popularity of the damn things (they are fun) and how aimed at a certain demographic they are.
And how that demographic leaves the damn things wtf they want to.
And, of course, the corrupt, incompetent hacks that comprise the mayor’s office and the majority of Our Feckless City Council, think all of this is just peachy.
@Baud: I used Uber a lot when I was traveling recently. Saved the hassle of renting a car.
Treating employees as drivers would be a great start.
I think the scooters and electric bikes rentals are here to stay. People are getting tired of cars.
@Baud: Standards for drivers and vehicles that a regulatory body can inspect and enforce.
Rate control with maximums for surge pricing, and transparency about surge pricing intervals.
Controls on the number of dockless cycles and scooters, along with fines for the rideshare and suspension of riders who abandon the things in the middle of sidewalks.
Uber already did and ditched bike and scooter rentals under the name Jump. They sold it off when covid hit, and I think Lime picked up the pieces.
Macron doesn’t look good here, for sure.
I use Lyft if I have to, but I’ve only used them once since quarantine hit. Cab companies seem to have misunderstood what people like about Uber and Lyft, which is (a) you know when your ride is going to get there and (b) you know ahead of time how much it’s going to cost.
L.A. has introduced Metro Micro, which is a public version of rideshare that operates within certain zones. It’s a great concept, but I haven’t tried it yet
Macron, and France, and the rest of the EU are damn lucky this story didn’t break during the runoff with Le Pen.
Agreed about the benefits of ride share. Also, the app is a great option when you need transportation overseas.
The cab system was created because of all the problems with ride-sharing. Once upon a time anyone could call themselves a cabbie. But the poor quality, danger and cut-throat competition forced cities to regulate the taxi system with medallions and other means. Uber and Lyft are a giant step backward that deliberately ignores all the laws set up for taxi service. Governments need to catch up and merge the good features of the two systems.
I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that Uber and Lyft aren’t gonna be cheap anymore once SoftBank got tired of subsidizing ~45% of every ride. I told them that even if the rides got pricey, you know who wasn’t gonna see one thin dime of it? the drivers. Uber and Lyft are like picture perfect explanations of why taxis are regulated basically like a utility.
@comrade scotts agenda of rage:
We were visiting my daughter there – love the city, btw. Neither my daughter nor her fiance, who are part of the target demographic, will ride the scooters because they know someone who got a traumatic brain injury from a fall. Those things are dangerous in addition to being a nuisance. And I say that as someone who rode a bike in an urban area with zero separate bike lanes for many years.
There’s an initiative in MA about that that the industry is pushing that would prevent the state from treating drivers as employees.
Looks like the court struck it down.
CA legislature passed such a law and then Uber et al bought an initiative overturning the law, returning their employees to “independent contractor” status.
We’re not done with this mess by a longshot.
@comrade scotts agenda of rage: Another example of “disruption” amounting to externalizing costs. Those things are a hazard to pedestrians. Cities should designate drop off places for them and impose fines for leaving them in the wrong place. A lot of bikeshares I’ve seen work that way (i.e., you pick up and leave at designated stations), why can’t these scooter assholes do the same?
Right… So how have they misunderstood?
gee, what if you knew someone who was killed in a car accident?
@Baud: Planning to vote against that one.
My town–Brookline–did an experiment with the electric scooters and killed it after six months. Everyone rode them on sidewalks, contrary to the supposed rules of the game, and, among other complaints, the senior housing up the street saw their residents basically terrorized and terrified.
I see an increasing number of college students and 20-somethings on scooters they own; they seem to have a bit more control of their machines and I think law enforcement has been reasonably effective keeping them from running over old folks.
But yeah: they’re traumatic injuries waiting to happen. I thought about getting one as around Palo Alto transport for my stint there from Jan.-May. Looked up the stats. Not for me.
See my follow up. Court struck it down. It won’t be on the ballot.
Honestly, I think it’s the only way that makes sense. The documents are real, so they can’t deny the contents. All they have left is arguing they aren’t relevant somehow and a change of management is probably the best angle they have.
Just a little courtesy would go a long way. I ride a bike almost daily in Scottsdale, AZ which has some lovely bike trails and lots of bike lanes. My big beef with electric bikes in particular is the speed differential to regular bikes and pedestrians on the shared paths here in Scottsdale. Most folks do not signal when they are approaching a slower bike or pedestrian. I always do and it is appreciated. “on your left” is my most frequent phrase when I bike. Most folks do not do that which is both rude, startling and dangerous.
Scottsdale did apparently go through an experiment with rental bikes and the bikes used to literally litter the trails and often times blocked them. I also hate the fully electric big wheeled scooters which are supposedly illegal on the bikeways, but enforcement is sketchy.
Lyft wanted like $55 to drive my partner about 4 miles across Portland recently. Obscene.
In the before-pandemic times, I used taxis some times when coming home from the airport, because I wanted there to be taxis for coming home from the airport. But now we pay out the snoot for airport parking, because masking in cabs/rideshares is optional and that sucks.
As far as I know, taxi companies still rely on you calling them up on the phone to request a cab, and they still don’t tell you up front how much the ride will cost but charge by time+mileage.
If that’s changed where you are, that’s great.
Villago Delenda Est
The perpetrators of this fraud should be wiped from the face of the Earth.
Dockless rentals were all over in the Boston area about 5 years ago. Lime and Ant bikes didn’t last very long. The docked, public, BlueBikes crushed them and are everywhere now. Public transport has a long history, and the trend is almost always towards government ownership. Once the cities around here decided that should include bike rental, game over.
Villago Delenda Est
What, do you think this is Canada?
Apples vs oranges. How many miles per injury??
I have used Metro Micro a few times, and it has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, the app is slick, the cost is reasonable for now, and it does actually try to work as a shared ride when that makes sense. On the minus side, the service can be a bit spotty with occasional long waits, the pickup and drop off points mostly seem to duplicate old bus stops rather than being flexible, and it has mostly been introduced as a replacement for removal of regularly scheduled bus service in the zones where Metro Micro service started. All else being equal, which I know it isn’t, I would have preferred continued regular bus service in my neighborhood to Metro Micro.
In 2013 they effectively said “Let’s just do it and be legends” and now they’re saying “We did it and we’re legends so you can’t do anything to us now.”
I am not a particularly bright person, and my record of predicting the future is quite bad, but about five minutes after I first heard of Uber I said that was what they were doing — breaking the law and trying to get enough of a foothold that they could say “FREE ENTERPRISE ALSO WE HAVE AN APP SO THE LAW DOESN’T APPLY TO US WE ARE THE FUTURE” until everyone just sort of shrugged. And that’s exactly what they did. If I, a confirmed doofus, saw this in 2013, anyone could have seen it. If they wanted to.
As for the scooters, I don’t purposely knock them over, but I haul them off the sidewalks and onto the grass next to it, and if they fall oh well.
If I run a red light in a rental car, the police send the rental company the red-light camera picture; the company tells them who the car was rented to at that time, and I get the ticket. There is no actual reason litter laws can’t be enforced in the same way.
Speaking of transportation, about a half hour ago, my wife was going through an intersection when someone ran the red light…he t boned the car to her left which slammed into her car hard enough that she had to exit out the passenger side, the driver’s door is kaput. She is miraculously unhurt, as is the man who was in the car next to her, and the driver of a third car, who also got hit somewhere along the line.
Maniac who started the whole thing was able to drive away before anyone could stop him.
Shedding a tear for my CX-5 with only 6K miles on it…
Oh wow. Glad she is ok. Although if it just happened, she may feel symptoms over the next few days. Things like neck strains take a while to develop.
@RaflW: There are private drivers now who specialize in transporting people to and from airports. Some customers of mine used one the last time they flew out of Dulles, a ninety mile trip one way. A friend told them about it, and it cost no more, maybe less than the gas and parking fees they paid the last time. That trip, their flight was delayed and they drove home at midnight, in a thunderstorm. They’ll use the driver from now on.
I hope your wife is truly OK.
One thing I really liked about taxi services is I could call them ahead of when I needed to be picked up. For example, I have a 6:00 am flight to catch or I have to arrive at a hospital for surgery at 6:00 am. I could call a taxi service and someone would be there early enough to get me to there in time.
I’ve not used Uber or Lyft much, as I don’t really travel, but in my very limited experience those apps don’t give you the option of scheduling a pickup well in advance. I could be wrong, but the times I’ve used them has always been “I need a ride now, put the request in the app, and a driver responds”
Edit: I haven’t done a “I need a ride in 48 hours, can a I book an appointment in advance” type request, but I’ve never really seen that option.
I believe Uber allows you to reserve 24 hours in advance, although I think it’s subject to driver availability and not a guarantee.
Because it would mess with their business model. The whole idea behind those scooters is that you can take them right to your destination rather than having to find the scooter stand nearest your destination and then walk the rest of the way. Of course the flip side is that there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find one close to your starting point, and if you can’t then you have no idea where to look for one.
Lots and lots of regulation.
How do we know that the drivers are who they say they are and not imposters using someone else’s Uber account?
Are drivers canceling rides on people due to things like race or disability? If so, is the company dealing with that behavior appropriately?
Insurance to protect both drivers and passengers from each other.
The scooters in the middle of sidewalks are in the way of people with disabilities who cannot move them out of the way.
Not sure what the life on the scooters is. Rental electric scooters have an average lifespan of 1-5 months.
Treat all the abandoned scooters as littering or add environmental impact fees.
Our county disability board is giving out Uber accounts as a substitute for those Access vans, which are notorious for being hard to schedule (have to be arranged for days in advance), often late and a pain in the neck generally. Obviously there are still board clients who need and use the vans but there lots of clients like Ohio Son who are perfectly capable of navigating the Uber app.
Ohio Son is loving the independence his account brings him. No more depending on mom and dad, he’s on his own as any other fellow his age.
He can only take it to the community college and his job, which has always been the case with the Access van: school, job, doctor. You can’t take it to the movies or your grandmother’s house or anywhere else you might want to go. (Such is the life of the disabled, the rule seems to be your life will be circumscribed and impoverished).
I was glad to see Uber has added several safety features to the app, including a panic button that calls 911. Now would Ohio Son consistently realize the driver was doing something they shouldn’t, say, drive off in the wrong direction? Who knows.
The safety featured I am enamored of is call “Share my Ride.” Ohio Son chooses that and I get a text with a link to a page that is the same as what the rider gets: photo of the car, make and model of the car, license plate number, driver photo and name, time of pick-up and time of arrival.
Then in real time, the car moves along a map and I can see, they are heading north on I-71, leaving downtown, going past that neighborhood and this one, etc.
Now the county only pays for the ride, the tip is on us. I imagine a lot of drivers get stiffed by the county board’s clients. And what happens when Uber’s prices start rising, the county board has a tight budget.
@gene108: You can put in an advance request, but unlike my experience with cabs, they don’t actively look for someone to fill it. So, for example, one time at 5 pm I put in a request for the forthcoming 5 am, but it didn’t get filled until like 330 am, by which time I had been asleep, woke up and was convinced I was up a creek.
@Baud: Some of the bike businesses withdrew from Baltimore due to the amount of damage to the bikes all the time.
Some markets are over-saturated in them. DC was a bizarro land where numerous scooter companies were operating. They were everywhere.
Mostly, a lot of these things are for tourists and tech workers.
@Baud: I will vote against that.
@WhatsMyNym: This. Plus, I know that my daughter doesn’t know anyone killed an an auto accident, fwiw. But in their small circle of friends, in Denver, who ride rental scooters (a still smaller percentage of a small group), which have only been around for a couple of years, they know someone with a TBI.
A lot of whether or not you get picked up is up to the driver, from what I’ve heard from Uber drivers. They may not want to go far away from busy areas to take you home, for example.
I use a one-man operation in Rochester when I need to go to the airport early in the morning. You can book him in advance and he’s 100% reliable, and a nice guy.
I do use Lyfts on occasion. The point of the post is that they ought to be regulated, not eliminated.
I started using a taxi app called Curb. It operates much like Uber showing you when your ride will show up and the cost, but it uses professional taxi drivers in actual marked cabs. I’ve used it a few times in Chicago and I like it a lot, but the only other cities where they operate are LA, NY, DC and Philadelphia.
@catclub: The scooters are not solving a real transportation need. In a city you know, you can walk or ride your bike. Denver is now subsidizing e-bike purchase, so why would you ride a scooter when your city is subsidizing your purchase of a Rad Power Bike?
@Baud: And, at least in my experience, costs a bit more. Used it once while in Palo Alto for an airport trip. Didn’t bother after getting the uncharge; turns out that there are a lot of essentially full time pro drivers for Uber/Lyft in Silicon Valley. Never had trouble getting a ride at any hour of need (not before 6 a.m., not after midnight).
@Mnemosyne: The Cincinnati public bus system is working on developing a micro ride share system, I’m looking forward to that.
It will open up all sorts of possibilities for Ohio Son and for me. I hate driving and am trying to figure out where we can move within this area that is walkable enough and has good enough bus access (that we can afford, those neighborhoods are in demand). Then we can be a one-car family, just Ohio Dad’s, after I finish driving my twelve year old Civic into the ground.
On another note, yeah, all those rentable bikes and scooters being driven without helmets, in every city of every size. Back when it was just bikes, I started imagining how heartening the organ transplant system must find this.
@waspuppet: She thinks she is fine. She is an attorney and has a hearing at 3, but after that I will pick her up and hopefully talk her into getting checked out.
@Mnemosyne: Not all of them. I thought some places saw the app as a differentiator and started making them for the cab companies. I have never used this one, but it exists.
We had what I would call a “lightly docked” bike sharing service in Rochester for a couple of years. By “lightly docked” I mean that there was a dock, but it wasn’t the piece of infrastructure that CitiBike in NY or Bixi in Montreal use. It was a glorified locking stand, and when the cable from the locking stand was inserted into the bike, the bike itself signaled end of ride to the app. It worked pretty well. But the bike sharing company had the bright idea to go hybrid – dockless for a $1 additional fee, or docked. As soon as they did that, the bikes that were left outside of a dock were all stolen. What a mess.
(Note that the bikes had a wheel lock but they could just be picked up and carried if they weren’t attached to the dock.)
If they can be bothered to respond at all. The only time I’ve used one of the app-based services, it was after trying hard to get a conventional cab and getting nothing but dead air when I called them. I suppose it’s possible they were driven out of business, but you’d think you’d get a “this number has been disconnected” message in that case.
That’s been my experience in L.A. — a lot of the Uber and/or Lyft drivers are people who used to drive for taxi companies and are now working for themselves.
James E Powell
Voters approved Issue 22 – to repeal/replace the law passed by the legislature – because if you run enough TV ads on a ballot issue, voters will believe just about anything.
James E Powell
Agree. Not sure why cab companies didn’t come up with an app that would do the same thing. They can estimate the time as well as anyone else.
And now for something completely different:
I’ve been reading the live tweets from Bannon’s pre trial hearing in DC (trial set to start Wednesday) and the Judge is ruling on Mr. Bannon’s many motions. You can follow the thread regarding the rulings <a href=”http://
The dishevelled one is not winning really anything he wants, but the question of a three month continuance requested by the multi-layered one has not been resolved yet.
@Mnemosyne: There are exceptions where a fixed price ride is mandated. I used to see this all the time when I got cabs at airports, and the cost of a ride to downtown or another specific area was fixed. I see some cab services advertise an app called iHail but I’ve never used it so can’t speak to how it compares to Uber or Lyft.
Sounds vaguely Lovecraftian. Are we sure Bannon isn’t one of the masks of Nyarlathotep, the many-faceted one?
I will not make fat jokes, fat shaming is bad.
I will not make fat jokes, fat shaming is bad.
I will not make fat jokes, fat shaming is bad.
Whew, you almost got me!
@James E Powell:
Also, too, because a lot of liberalism is only skin deep. There are a lot of people who are so used to using these services, the threat to turn them off was enough to get them to vote for whatever promised to keep them going. It doesn’t matter that the predictable consequence was the drivers being treated like shit. Keeping the rides and food delivery was more important.
God is the only perfect liberal. Everyone else falls short in some way.
@Baud: Job’s wife disagrees about God.
I would also want regulation on the hidden costs of services like Uber and Lyft, like forcing them to disclose to drivers at the end of the shift just how expensive that shift was to them in terms not only of gas mileage but also insurance, wear and tear, maintenance, etc.
Then let’s add in a mileage charge (to the company, not to the driver) so that they have to pay for clogging the streets and for the damage caused by the excess miles on the infrastructure that we all use and pay for.
Then let’s add in an emissions charge so that they have to pay for the damage they are doing to the environment.
Uber and Lyft were able to be successful because in many locations they simply flooded the zones so that the wait times were never very long. But that comes at a societal cost, a cost that neither company has ever paid. And they were able to keep costs down by a) spending billions of dollars and b) shoving the costs down to the drivers without properly disclosing. Should the drivers know this? Sure, but people just don’t think that way.
I am for more regulation, although I will point out that the visually impaired seem to use Uber and Lyft a lot rather than Metro Access here in Northern Virginia. I think that it’s easier for them to use the app rather than deal with Metro Access
@Roger Moore: I drove for Uber not long after they came to Chicago. At first, you really could make decent money without driving tons of hours, and it was more safe because fewer people knew about it. Then, they came up with Uber Pool, and that was a flat out rip off for the drivers. I went to their office to complain, and the response was I didn’t understand the big picture. I understood clearly which is why I quit.
On another note, the biggest patrons of Uber Pool was the same crowd who were supposedly also for $15 minimum wage. Funny, they were perfectly willing to stiff a driver. I’m not sure they even realized their spoken politics and real actions didn’t quite match.
The Moar You Know
@Baud: as a former commuting cyclist who’s been hit twice, I, too, am very tired of cars, but don’t expect me to strap on a bike again after the last time and get back in the ring. Not until they ban cars nationally. I’m not getting put back in the hospital or worse this time.
@The Moar You Know: The Boston area including Cambridge and beyond are really increasing bike lanes. Oddly, things have gotten MORE chaotic because, unlike in Europe, the lanes are not safely dedicated and there is usually parking on the inside of the bike lane and driving on the outside. But they are seriously trying to change the dynamic here. Getting doored just once while commuting stopped me from using main streets.
@James E Powell: Exactly. The lies laid out by those ads were on the scale of BoJo’s pro-Brexit nonsense. And people at it up (TBF the opposition had about seventy bucks to spend, so it was hugely lopsided).
The Moar You Know
@Immanentize: that’s not a bike lane, but rather an urban cyclist sacrifice zone.
I thankfully never got doored. Friend of mine did. That was a few weeks in the hospital.
@Ohio Mom: This past week we were doing a college tour road trip with the youngest daughter and we rented Lime scooters for the first time in Spokane to ride around from our hotel, tour the Gonzaga campus, and find off-campus dining.
It was actually a blast and eye-opening. They are great for short-distance mobility. And it would be easy enough for cities to regulate them by geo-fencing. Designating official scooter parking zones on each street corner, for example, and setting different speed limits or restrictions based on geography. For example, the scooters automatically reduced speed by 1/2 when we entered the Gonzaga campus so they must have some sort of geo-fence around the campus with speed restrictions inside. Which makes sense.
As for helmet laws? That is mostly a red herring. More lives would actually be saved by mandating children wear helmets inside automobiles and when walking to school. But we don’t ever think of that. In point of fact, in most cities, helmet laws are used as an excuse for police to hassle homeless, young people of color, and others with fines and impoundment. While leaving white suburbanites alone. When they did a study of helmet law enforcement in Seattle they found that over half the helmet law citations were issued to homeless people and that people of color were 4-times more likely to get a helmet citation than white people. That was the main reason why the Seattle helmet law was recently repealed. It was just another weapon that the police could use at their discretion for discrimination and harassment.
What we actually need in this country is a LOT more infrastructure for small human-powered and electric vehicles. We have lots of car lanes. And depending on the city we have lots of sidewalks. But very little for small vehicles moving faster than pedestrians but slower than cars. What I’m talking about are essentially secure safe separated bike lanes of the sort that are common in European cities. But that should be open for bikes, ebikes, scooters, one-wheels, and every other sort of small personal electric-powered transport that fits into the niche between cars and pedestrians. That is the sort of city that I want to live in.
Quaker in a Basement
Who could have guessed that “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission,” was an actual business strategy?
@The Moar You Know:
We’re starting to get some of the more protected bike lanes in the LA area, the ones where the bike lane is closest to the curb, then there’s another curb or row of plastic pylons, and then parking. Or they’ll be marked off with plastic pylons if there isn’t parking on that street.
I guess I’m unpleasantly surprised by the number of people who call themselves liberals but back off when it personally inconveniences them. They love to think everyone should get a living wage, but they balk when they see how it affects the price of produce in their local supermarket. They want homeless people to have housing, but heaven forbid it be in their neighborhood. They love the idea of integrated schools, but definitely not too many BIPOC in their kid’s school. And so on.
Everyone should wear a helmet on a bike or scooter, but I hear you about enforcement. Even in Europe, people die or are permanently disabled every year because they weren’t wearing a bike helmet.
And if side-curtain and front airbags are removed from cars, then I’ll agree with you about helmets in cars, but those existing safety features have vastly reduced fatal and severely disabling head injuries from car accidents.
@The Moar You Know: My dooring was a twisting, convoluted dance back into traffic where I dumped. Thankfully run into/over by no one. Although horns were blasting forever it seemed. I’m rather glad no one viddy recorded it.
Scapes cuts and had to wear a boot for four weeks. My helmet was cracked (a bell metro) but it did it’s job. But no hospital. I was so frigging lucky.
@James E Powell: Thankfully, a California district court ruled that Prop 22 was unconstitutional – ruling was issued August 2021. I am not sure what status of an appeal, if any, is.
Quaker in a Basement
Just about all the issues involved in ridesharing regulation also apply to AirB&B and VRBO.
(OK, except for the helmet thing. Leave me alone.)
I live in Denver and the scooter situation is troublesome. I live in the burbs about 8 miles from downtown and they are left on bike paths and connectors and create real hazards. When I worked downtown, the sidewalks were much less safe for pedestrians.
E-bikes are becoming quite popular and while good for replacing car trips, are often ridden on bike paths at high speeds. They are also quite heavy and I wouldn’t want to be in an accident with one.
Multimodal transportation options need infrastructure to operate safely and efficiently. It is difficult to reclaim any ROW from the almighty car (which is now more and more ubiquitously a truck).
James E Powell
The case is Castellanos v State of California, Case No. A163655 in the California Court of Appeal for the First District. (I’m not going to bother looking for the correct form of citation.)
Last thing showing on the docket is a reply to an amicus brief – there are many – and there is no date for oral argument.
@mistermix: Then there’s the people who just throw them around. Some of the, um, “local characters” in the Santa Monica area don’t use them (or have a cell phone), but they move them, somewhat haphazardly. I’ve seen one guy, of the unstable variety, walk up and kick over a nice line-up of scooters that were properly placed (as much as they can be, anyway). And I’ve seen them at the bottom of the bluffs by PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), so some people just throw them off the bluffs, too. Pretty tough to fine/suspend the last rider for that.
@mistermix: The smaller the wheels, the easier it is to get tripped up on something and crash. I ski, mountain bike and rock climb but you’ll never catch me riding a scooter – too risky.
Rental E bikes have returned in our tourist town in central Oregon, along with fines for not parking them in a designated location once you’re done with one. They got ran out of town last time because of the “leave it anywhere” crap pissed off a lot of businesses and locals. We’ll see if fines improve user behaviour.
@azlib: Im seeing a lot of one model of A bike that has much smaller wheels and fatter tires; the main thing you notice is how fast they are as they weave through traffic and on and off sidewalks and bike lanes. If say they go at least 30 mph on flat road. I constantly see two young teens speeding crazily through our area and a busy road, no helmets.
Now the local bike rental place on the river walk is renting them so they speed through crowded pedestrian traffic along the busiest tourist pathways in town. I’m expecting lawsuits; these are nothing like the pedal assist E bikes and are a lot more like a electric Vespa.
I am a Black woman who has lived in Black neighborhoods her entire life. Black middle class neighborhoods. If not from/to the airport, you STILL can’t get A regular cab to come. Uber and Lyft will at least come.
@gene108: I used that function with Lyft for an early flight in Charleston back in February. Driver showed up right at the requested time. Yes, I noticed prices had risen dramatically.
I certainly appreciate it when I’m walking my dog on a bike trail and have time to reel her in before the bike zips by. Most bikers don’t say a word, and the bikes are so quiet that they’re right behind you before you know it.
@Kristine: Bicyclists need to bring back those little ringing devices we had when I was a kid. Or those rubber-bulbed horns. There’d be resistance because nowadays a lot of bicyclists pretend they must be as aerodynamically smooth as possible, like they’re riding in the friggin’ Tour de France. But it’s exercise, and one of those little ringers might make them burn an extra calory in a month.
This seems to be a local culture thing. Most places I ride in California, it’s very common for people to call out “on your left” or signal before passing. The big exception being Monterey, where you’d better get your toddler out of the way fast on the shared hike and bike trails.
Then again, that’s still better than Texas and Florida, where I’m pretty sure pickup drivers are legally allowed to run you down if you’re too slow getting through an intersection.
Gin & Tonic
Taxi companies in Ukraine have been doing this for a couple of decades. You call for a cab from point A to point B, they text you back when the driver will get there and what the fare will be. Competition was robust, so the prices were all competitive.
@James E Powell: Thx for citation. Sounds like its gonna be awhile…hopefully appellate court doesn’t overrule the district court….
Gee, when I ride a powered bicycle on a sidewalk, which is illegal but sometimes necessary because most car drivers are a-holes, I either slow to a crawl or stop and get off and walk it when overtaking people who are walking. It’s called courtesy and safety.
Those powered scooters have an easy remedy – simply pick them up and place them in the street where they can be driven over by a-holes in pickup trucks.
Uber might be a way to make a living in a densely populate area like the Bay Area or LA, but here in Santa Fe it’s nothing but a racket. I had a friend who went out and purchased a new SUV so he could be an Uber driver and spent the last two years of his life living in subsidized housing and chasing a car note. It’s really nothing more than an excellent illustration that unregulated capitalism is nothing more than the rich and powerful preying upon the poor and powerless, up to and including mass murder, with complete impunity.
Kill your boss.