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Philadelphia to Be Improved by Abandoned Dockless Bikes and Scooters

An imperiled Philadelphia streetscape. Photograph by Andrea Gingerich, via iStock.

Philadelphians may soon know the joy of jumping onto a dockless scooter and whizzing toward whatever it is that Philadelphians need to get to quickly–an unguarded papal water glasscheesesteak egg rolls? a cigar riot at Wawa? Whatever excites all the latent cannoli in their bloodstreams, residents of the 98th-best place to live in America could also soon know the heartbreak of creatively parked bikes and scooters, David Murrell reports for Philadelphia magazine. The problem, he points out, is that “Society only works because we operate according to an implicit social contract — and dockless transportation is like one huge paper shredder.”

As a big fan implicit social contracts, I broadly agree with Murrell. But scooting scofflaws may have to work a bit harder to crap up a metropolis that recently had to agree to pay Bryce Harper hundreds of millions of dollars to live there. A Lime bike parked in a tree could be viewed as an improvement to a place where authorities had to warn people to stop swimming in Dumpsters, where an Eagles fan celebrated the Super Bowl by eating horse poop, and where a giant rubber duck once met a grisly end. Give the dockless transportation some time, Philly–even burnt to a crisp by Santa, those scooters may look superior to cars parked in the median!

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.