The Public Scooter. The scourge of every city in the United States. They go by many names – Lime, Bird, Razor, whatever Uber’s doing. Sometime within the past two years they descended downwards from the heavens to occupy the street corners of every city and the cargo beds of every pickup-truck owning Dad who thought he could get ahead in the gig economy. Quietly and slowly, the public scooter took over. In 2019, we’re taming them.
Thursday. Yes, it was Thursday when I saw this video cross my Twitter feed. A man, on a Lime Scooter, gapping a staircase and rolling away clean.
What a feat. What a drop, seven steps, rolling away clean… well, actually, now that I look at it, he rolls away sketchy, but whatever. It’s an impressive move and perhaps the Ura example of someone using the public scooter with the expressed purpose of sick stunts.
Most interactions with the public scooter either involve some smug business motherfucker in a suit rolling past you on the sidewalk with that look on his face like “Oh, isn’t it so funny that I, a man in a suit, am riding a scooter, a vehicle meant for a child?” and then he goes by and you turn around and yell “fuckin’ yuppie” at him, or it involves some old dude pulling up in a Honda Civic to a line of the scooters all lined up in a row and knocking them down.
But this… This feels different. This sparks joy! Perhaps a man in Dallas doing something impressive on a public scooter is what this society needs. The knowledge that this person paid like four dollars to activate the scooter and risked… like, deletion from the app or something to give us a ten second video, it’s invigorating! And it’s spawning more stunts!
Extreme sports have always risen up from something else, developed from the reinterpretation of a vehicle’s intended purpose. Roller skates and skateboards were never meant to leave the ground, BMXers originally only raced, and airplanes were originally intended to move people from place to place before skydiving came around and gave them a real purpose. To my knowledge, the public scooter is meant to put you in vague pseudo-danger when walking down city streets and potentially to let you get from one building on the San Diego State campus to another.
But to repurpose it for stunts… That is the future. We’ve been starved for new sports for far too long, and we’ve found one. The perfect mix: reappropriation of a vehicle, rebellion, and sick stunts. It is time to jump Birds. Or, Limes, or whatever.