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Transportation

Why Little Vehicles Will Conquer the City

Nearly all of them look silly, but if taken seriously, they could be a really big deal for urban transportation.
Prepare now for the tiny vehicle takeover.
Prepare now for the tiny vehicle takeover. Kathy Willens/AP

The public reaction to the arrival of dockless bikes and electric scooters in U.S. cities can be tracked in stages. The first stage, for many, was annoyance. Who were these grown men and women on candy-colored bikes and teeny kick-scooters speeding down the streets and sidewalks, menacing walkers and leaving their rented toys all over the place? Especially in San Francisco, where this whimsical new mobility mode has taken off, scooters have come to represent yet another example of tech industry entitlement, another way for a startup to move fast and break stuff.

In response, many a Twitter urbanist has used this backlash to point out the relative danger and disruption of larger dockless vehicles: