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‘Bikeshare fading slowly into sunset’ with arrival of e-scooters

An e-scooter demonstration at Seattle City Hall. (Daron Casey, KTTH)

With Seattle getting ready to introduce electric scooters, former Washington State Secretary of Transportation Doug McDonald isn’t optimistic about the future of bikeshares in the city.

“Bikeshare actually may be fading slowly into the sunset,” he told KIRO Radio’s Candy, Mike and Todd Show.

According to McDonald, that’s driven primarily by the impending presence of e-scooters.

The city is currently in the midst of developing its pilot program for scootershares, which have been wildly popular in virtually every city they’ve occupied. Unfortunately, that’s also come paired with liability issues, injuries, and traffic accidents involving riders.

Seattle builds roadmap for e-scooters, plans launch in 2020

That in turn presents issues for Seattle’s “Vision Zero” plan, to end traffic deaths and serious injuries entirely by 2020.

“How do you square that goal with bringing in the scooters?” McDonald posited. “I think we have a serious conversation about how these work that we need to think about.”

Those are concerns echoed by the Pedestrian Advisory Board, tasked by the city with advising the Mayor’s Office and Seattle City Council on a handful of transportation issues.

“[SDOT says], ‘In Seattle, walking will be a way of life, accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and possible throughout the City.’ How do thousands of e-scooters on sidewalks fit with that?” the PAB asked in a recent news release.

In the meantime, McDonald sees less of a future for bikeshares as e-scooters move in to Seattle. Despite that, he also foresees a mixed response once the popular offering arrives in earnest.

“If scooters are going to come — and think they will — I think a lot of people are going to love them, a lot of people aren’t, and you have to strike a balance,” he noted.

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