A rainy scoot around Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA.
A rainy scoot around Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA. Nathalie Graham

I visited Atlanta, Georgia last week. Atlanta, I quickly discovered, is not a walkable city. The week I was there my primary mode of transportation was by e-scooter. And I have to confess: I'm obsessed. Scooters are fast and fun, they're cheap and everywhere. I felt like I was behind-the-times on this transportation trend—and I was. Seattle was the first city to get dockless bike share. Why does it feel like we're the last to get these fucking scooters?

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The hills, I thought, as my e-scooter chugged up an Atlanta incline (the equivalent of like, Broadway Ave's incline on Capitol Hill). It had to be the hills. I still cleared 13 mph on the electric motor-assisted scooter as it puffed along, but it was noticeably slower than the rubber I was burning at 18 mph on a straightaway. That had to be what was holding Seattle back. Or, maybe, the rain?

From the beginning of the e-scooter phase—so, like, last spring—Seattle has hemmed and hawed and dragged its feet. Motorized scooters are still illegal on Seattle sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.

What's been holding Seattle back from getting scooters isn't hills or the weather, but Seattle.

"Seattle would be a fantastic market for scooters and that would help a lot of people get out of their cars," Jonathan Hopkins, Lime's director for strategic development in the Northwest, told The Stranger.

According to a curt email from Seattle's Department of Transportation, "The Department doesn’t have a timeline on a scooter launch, as the city continues to evaluate." They'll keep me updated, though.

There's no timeline because, as Hopkins said, "The city has not yet shown interest in moving forward with [getting scooters]."

Portland has scooters, Tacoma has scooters, hell, even Spokane has scooters. In Portland, after a brief four-month pilot, an onslaught of scooter-enthusiasm has ensured that e-scooters will soon return to the city. After the pilot, the data that came in was overwhelmingly positive for e-scooters. Thirty-four percent of the people riding scooters said they would have ridden in a car or ordered a rideshare service, according to a City of Portland survey. Sixteen percent said they wanted to get rid of their car. Six percent actually did.

Spokane is in the process of renewing their pilot program. That could happen as soon as March. Tacoma, on the other hand, rushed to renew their scooter bid after their pilot program was up.

Scooters are the perfect last-mile solution. They're a vehicle to and from public transit. Forty percent of all trips in America are under two miles, Hopkins said, and that's perfect for scooters. Many of the people who rode scooters in Portland—48 percent, according to Hopkins—said they had never ride a bike. "We expanded the pie of people who were ready to use green clean transportation."

When I got back to Seattle from Atlanta, I was waiting at the University of Washington light rail station for my connecting bus back home. It was coming in 16 minutes. I could've made it home on a scooter in this time, I thought. Instead, I waited for the bus.

"We knew to keep people moving during the Seattle Squeeze that we needed to get people out of their cars," Hopkins said. "I’ve never seen a tool that can have this much of an impact that can change people’s behavior and can shake people loose of their car."

I'm a fan of the e-scooter. I'm not hiding that. I was only in a city that used them for six days, and the e-scooter habit was already forming. They make a whole lot of sense. I still have my suspicions about whether the hills or the rain could impede scooters in Seattle but, hey, San Francisco has e-scooters and they're doing fine.

"Every other major cities in the Pacific Northwest that has tried out scooters is asking for more," Hopkins said. "They deserve inspection and exploration."

Currently, Lime is transitioning its pedal bikes out of Seattle. The e-bikes will remain at least until the end of the year. Then, their permit is up. It's too soon to know whether Lime bikes will stick around. Or whether Seattle will get its act together and let us ride a fucking scooter.