Bird-Brained Ideas

Los Angeles is a big, sprawling (covering a wide area) city. That’s why people have a hard time (difficulty) getting around without cars.

Our public transportation system—buses, subways, trains, etc.—just doesn’t reach enough parts of the city.

About a year ago, a type of electric “scooter” started appearing on city streets. Scooters are normally small motorcycles, but these scooters are different. They are more like skateboards with a motor and a pole to hang on to (see photo).

A company called “Bird” scattered (place randomly) scooters all over the city, putting them on sidewalks (walkways next to the street). They were placed near bus stops, at street corners, and anywhere a lot of people walked.

The scooters are intended to help people travel short distances so they wouldn’t have to walk or drive a car.

Here’s how these paid scooters work: You choose a scooter, insert (place into a machine) your credit card, pay a small fee, and then have temporary use of that scooter.

Ride it to where you want to go and then leave it there. At the end of the day, a team of people retrieves (pick up and return) the scooters for charging (for a battery to again store energy) and then places them around the city again.

The problem was, Bird and other similar companies didn’t have permission (approval; an okay) from the local government to do business, and no one was in charge of making sure people were following the rules and laws.

Soon, riders were leaving scooters where they shouldn’t, like the middle of the sidewalk, on people’s front yards, or in the street.

Children were riding them on busy streets with no helmets (hard hat to protect the head), and riders were causing traffic accidents.

Now, the government is finally stepping in (getting involved). They are setting up new regulations (rules) and limiting the number of companies that can have these scooters in the city. It will be some time before we know how things shake out (work out; come to a result).

I haven’t tried riding one of these scooters yet, but I have seen a lot of people on them. Some people ride responsibly (in the right way). But when someone rides like an idiot, then it seems to me these Bird scooters are a bird-brained idea.*


* Bird-brained is an adjective meaning very stupid or not very smart. The term is perhaps used because birds are small and therefore have small brains. I think “cat-brained” would also be a good way of describing dumb ideas, but that’s just me.

Photo credit: Grendelkhan

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