Quietly, and with no marketing fanfare, a fleet of zippy little electric scooters has been installed in and about downtown Greensboro.
It’s like a LimeBike — you can rent one wherever you find it using a smartphone app, and leave it parked when you’re done — except, of course, way better and cooler in every single way.
It’s got a motor, so it’s perfect for quickly traversing the distance between, say, Lindley Park and Tate Street, or UNCG and Midtown, or the north and south ends of Elm Street without breaking a sweat. It’s an inexpensive fill-in for gaps in the city’s public-transportation system. And when you ride one the wind blows back your shirttails and hair like you’re surfing a perpetual concrete wave.
Predictably, my friend Allen Johnson at the News & Record pointed out that the scooters are, technically speaking, illegal in downtown Greensboro — a mode of conveyance along the lines of skateboards, which we all know are synonymous with trouble, and, probably, unicycles.
Are they a nuisance? Absolutely! They dart in and out of traffic like flying squirrels, and I’d be surprised if they haven’t racked up a dozen little accidents on Greensboro streets since they arrived.
But, really, everything on downtown streets is a nuisance: bicycles, cars, slow-moving pedestrians, people who jaywalk, parking meters, lightposts — basically everything except for freestanding newspaper boxes is completely annoying and potentially hazardous to those who aren’t paying attention.
And it’s too late. The scooters are here, and golf carts and those pedal-pushing drinking buggies are on their heels.
Also, they are awesome.
(So I assume — I have yet to ride one of these things, but so what?)