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This Man, For One, Welcomes Our Electronic Scooter Overlords

“If liking fun, inexpensive, short-distance transportation is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”

Bring on the scooters?

This week, former Portland radio writer and current San Francisco journalist Michelle Wiley wrote about the havoc that was unleashed in the city when the dockless e-scooters came to town.

Related: I Just Lived Through the Invasion of San Francisco by Electronic Scooters. Portland, You Have No Idea What You're In For.

But in a column published yesterday by New York Times, writer Kevin Roose offered a different perspective: These things might not be so bad.

Roose, who lives in Santa Monica, Calif., devoted a week to using Bird e-scooters as his primary mode of transit. (Bird is one of five companies slated to test its e-scooter program in Portland this summer.) He says in total, he took over a dozen rides—to run errands, go to meetings and just to take joy rides on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

Related: Get Ready for a Swarm of Rental Scooters—the Next Thing You'll Hate About New Portland

"And here's my verdict," Roose wrote, "e-scooters might look and feel kind of dorky, but they aren't an urban menace or a harbinger of the apocalypse. In fact—sigh—they're pretty great."

Roose says the scooters were cheap—$1.15 per minute—abundant and "zippy enough to put a satisfying whoosh in your hair."

He says that arguments that e-scooters are a public safety hazard, that they'll just get dumped haphazardly and clutter city spaces and that they are merely a symbol of tech-world elitism can be easily debunked.

Roose says there isn't enough evidence yet to prove that scooters are any less safe than other types of two-wheeled transit.

"The only scary scooter rides I had were the times that cars veered a little too close to the bike lane I was riding in," he writes. "If cities want to encourage safe scooter riding — and they should, given the benefits they have for congestion and environmental health — they should create protected scooter lanes and encourage drivers to give them more room." (Portland is already moving, albiet wobbily, in this direction—with a proposal recently announced to build 5.2 miles of protected bike lanes downtown.)

Related: Here's Where Portland Officials Want to Create Protected Bike Lanes Downtown

"If liking fun, inexpensive, short-distance transportation is wrong," Roose concludes, "I don't want to be right."

Roose makes some strong points.

On the other hand, a Guardian reporter just discovered that e-scooters have started threatening to call the cops if you stand on them.

So we're withholding judgment.