Here's how to take Wired's advice and get your own e-scooter, for a fraction of the cost

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/24/flip-that-bird.html

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Now I kinda wish we had them around here… but not really. I would manage to kill myself on one of those.

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How are we going to have flying cars when we can’t even drive these things safely?

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I agree, often when I’m out driving I look around and marvel at how much worse it would be if the other drivers could be coming from any direction.

The only solution I can think of is a benevolent AI at the helm.

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I’ll admit, I’m torn. Being a pedestrian in Toronto, never mind Mississauga, is lethal enough as it is.

On the one hand, the more people we have on scooters, the more motorists we have scared of collisions, (or at least, in Mississauga, aware of the threat of a scratch in the paint on their BMW). With a bit of luck, that means motorists reducing speed and being more cautious, leading to safer roads all round.

On the other hand, even Darwinian arguments don’t justify the number of people that would need to die on scooters to achieve what would otherwise be a laudable goal of safer roads.

Just to be clear, our politicians here seem to think that it’s “one car, one vote”. A “bike lane” in this city, where they exist, is almost always a line of paint on the road and a polite sign pointing out to drivers that it’s naughty to run over cyclists…

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I love my scooter and don’t give a shit about the negativity of the article towards them. Yeah, Byrd and everyone else sucks, but my damn scooter is awesome.

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Nice timing. Just last night I was watching reviews of e-bikes. Scooters didn’t occur to me. Having gotten rid of my car about 5 months ago I have been toggling between:

  • Walking: 90% of what I need is nearby
  • Bus: For things close but just a bit too far to walk
  • Car2Go: Round trips where there will be easy parking such as specialty stores 30-40 minutes away
  • Lyft: To and from the airport
  • Car rental: Going to see family out of state. I would take the train but they don’t allow my dog**

** My dog goes everywhere with me.

One area not covered is getting out of town to do landscape photography. Car2Go comes the closest but paying to have the car sit all day seems like a big waste of money. Could use Lyft to get to a location but I’d be nervous about getting picked up at the end of the day. I could get a moped scooter but then I am paying monthly to park it in my apt parking garage.

E-bikes can be parked for free in my apt bike room and have some juice to get me to interesting scenic locations in a reasonable time and cost (after initial purchase of course).

Going car-less is kind of a pain but for now I will keep trying to find a workable solution.

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For various personal reasons, I picked up an impound (Segway Ninebot ES3 I think. Dual batteries but no back shock or folding mechanism) just after Cory first mentioned this. It’s closer to $100 to flip a Bird (I’m told Limes are more difficult) unless you want to deal with restrictions. You can get the dashboard unit ($35 when I did it) but you’re still subject to the custom ROM they put on the drive computer. You can replace the drive computer with an after-market one for about $60-65. If you don’t, you won’t be able to switch riding modes or ride while the headlight is on. The Bird ROM on the drive computer shuts down the motor when the headlight turns on.

No idea how hard it is to get one of their newer Zero models working for private use though, and most of the Ninebot units are disappearing.

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the idea of flipping them does not address the real brilliance of the rental model (leaving aside the rental model’s flawed long-term business model for now)

you not only have the convenience of picking one up wherever, you also have the convenience of leaving it wherever, no carrying a lock, no finding a lock up spot, no stressing if your investment is going to be stolen (theft doesn’t exist for the renter at all,) and:
NO MAINTENANCE.
NO CHARGING.
EVER.

with ownership, one assumes all of the aforementioned liabilities.
the true value of of the rental model is outsourcing the above liabilities to the owning company – in fact, damn near every liability; short of crashing and hurting yourself, which ownership doesnt absolve, but you are then also on the hook for fixing the scooter.

the rental companies are losing buckets of money today in the hopes of dominating the market share and then making money… somehow. the blogers of this site claim the business model is unsustainable. I am inclined to agree. But as a consumer: get it while the gettin’s good.
then maybe flip one after Bird, Lyme et.al.'s eventual bankruptcy.

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Danny-DeVito-Nope

I would love, love, love to do this. But I feel like a lot of these articles gloss over just how annoying it can be to get your hands on one through auction in the first place.

Enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn, hiking through the worst industrial area your city has to offer, and still having no clue if scooters will even be offered that day.

I feel like the vast majority of problems these scooters create are because end users are such assholes. Why blame the company when it’s actually inconsiderate dickheads trashing these things, leaving them in the right-of-way, crashing into pedestrians and cars alike, etc.?

At first, several years ago, I was disappointed and jealous that my city (Vancouver, BC) never allowed e-scooters or ride-sharing. Now, it’s looking more and more like it’s the right thing.

The NRA agrees.

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