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Why Would Anyone Leave a Scooter in the Middle of a Bridge?

Photographs by Andrew Beaujon.

Scooters parked on bridges: WTF? I see their dockless selves on the foot/cycle paths of the George Mason span of the 14th Street Bridge and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge all the time. As I’ve written before, I can come up for reasons why people might abandon a scooter in the middle of a long multi-use trail in a national park–maybe the vehicles ran out of battery, or the riders were raptured. But in the middle of a…erm…not-terribly-high bridge?

The Roosevelt Bridge in particular seems to be a dumping ground for chopped-up scooters. They tend to linger, headless or with evidence of even more ghastly surgery, for weeks on its Virginia side. I’ve mostly given up on trying to report them to the scooter companies in the hope that they’ll collect them. They always ask for the number of the scooter, and if you can’t find one because the top of the stem has been lopped off, the companies don’t seem to be in much of a hurry to get them back. A Lyft and a Jump by Uber scooter have rested in a swampy area underneath the Roosevelt Bridge for months; I’ve traded at least ten emails with Jump trying to convince them I’m not making it up. (At least they write back.)

Why do people leave scooters in the middle of bridges? I got nothing. What’s your theory?

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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.