Y’all probably already know me as Austin’s preeminent lobbyist for the rights of evil highways and endless gridlock everywhere, so I’m not gonna front — my strong preference is for all modes of transportation that don’t work on MoPac to be critically shunned like a new Maroon 5 record.
But the dockless urban scooter is a special breed. For two brief weeks earlier this spring, these plucky little darlings were crapped out on every downtown Austin corner like one of those Christmas gifts you never asked for that still ends up being mildly intriguing — think electric loofah, Bowflex, or Gen-2 Shake Weight.
My DAMN I'M SPECIAL* human of the day award goes to the bro riding his electric scooter on MoPac by Barton Skwy earlier.
*Don't try and beat this#atx
— Evil MoPac (@EvilMopacATX) April 18, 2018
But all too soon, the Austin City Council sent these perky two-wheeled upstarts into regulatory timeout — probably so they can pay a crowd of consultants several stacks of cash to run some nerdy-ass feasibility studies. This got me thinking of other potential uses for these glorified electric skateboards as they wait for official love and acceptance from the city’s pols. Here are this highway’s brilliant ideas:
Scooters for Steve Adler, but on the Down-Low
Austin’s affable chief exec is known for many things — his silver fox-like skull salad, the stint as a drummer for Guns N’ Roses, and his gift for cornering people at dinner parties with CodeNEXT origin stories, to name only a few.
But Adler’s defining quality may be his interest in transportation — he calls it “mobility,” which sounds like a vaguely scientific term for digestion. In an April 2017 Austin Monthly piece, Adler espoused walking or biking instead of driving, which is a shade easier when, like Adler, one can pretty much roll out of bed into their office at work.
However, Adler’s carless dreams could unwittingly tick ever closer to reality in the form of raw, not-yet-approved-by-bureaucrats urban scooters.
Too tanked up on mojitos to take the wheel? Scooter. Sick of spending two motionless hours writing your memoirs on MoPac? Scooter. Hot to piss off a couple of bros by lane-splitting between a Range Rover and BMW at 13 miles per hour? Scooter. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Underground Street Racing
My feeble understanding of human nature tells me that y’all want to be Vin Diesel. So take my allegorical hand and join me on some next-level shizz…in the form of racing.
Yes, gather your group of trendy, impossibly good-looking street toughs, find an empty place where nobody else goes — translation: do this in Pflugerville — and let tiny rubber meet road in an anything-goes orgy of asphalt bravado involving two people, two urban scooters and a combined 26 miles per hour. And maybe Ludacris.
Children’s Birthday Parties
Parents, what’s your go-to for entertainment when your kid’s having a birthday? Clowns? Creepy af. Magicians? Creepy af, and expensive. Petting zoo? Not unless you want your child’s face on the news as patient zero for the next animal-to-human epidemic.
Nah, the answer here is dockless scooters. What could be better than a group of snot-nostriled younglings toiling in line for their turn on a motorized pony that could put them in the ER for two weeks? Do it without a helmet to amp up the fun!*
*in this instance, the word “fun” serves as shorthand for “likelihood of death.”
— Evil MoPac (@EvilMopacATX) May 4, 2018
Put Them on Airbnb, Somehow
Austin’s currently sitting pretty in the eye of its Music Festival Migrant Hurricane, but ACL Fest isn’t too far off. The swarm of out-of-towners looking for a place to stay on a pauper’s budget should look no further than urban scooters. Sure, the deck of a Bird dockless device offers probably half a square foot of real estate, tops — but put a few of them next to each other and you’ll start to see the potential:
These bad boys offer an open-air spot to rest your weary bones before sweating out 25 percent of your body weight the next day at Zilker next to a stoned patchouli-ambassador who may or may not be Chris Barron from The Spin Doctors, while you enjoy “that one band who did that one song.”
Bespoke Mini-Food Trailer
Whether you’re slinging gluten-free cabbage poppers, vegan umami paste, foraged Ojibwe maize, deconstructed tayberry jam, artisanal ciabatta, free-range farm-to-table fair-trade goat fat, or literally just selling drugs out of a reclaimed midcentury shipping crate you’ve upcycled into a backpack, it’s even more authentic if you do so from the sleek deck of an urban scooter.
Such a patently unusual use of said scooter will only add to your operation’s bespoke charm, and inside of two weeks, the class of Austinites who wait in lines for a living will emerge from the woodwork to wrap clear around the corner. It’s so much like printing money that U.S. Treasury agents might pay you a visit.
Be Best pic.twitter.com/rMQViF1vQ5
— Evil MoPac (@EvilMopacATX) May 7, 2018
Or, you know, we could just ban urban scooters forever or otherwise regulate them out of existence, and stick with the status quo that’s clearly working so flawlessly — at least if you’re as much of a fan of gridlock as me. Either way, I’ll still be here waiting to give you your full-body traffic massage.
I’m just a humble evil highway, but I’d love to see this fundraiser for Austin bombing victim Draylen Mason hit its goal. Spend some of the money you’d ordinarily waste in my new express lanes.