Some Burlington residents are worried that a proposal to bring 200 e-bikes and 200 e-scooters to the region by this summer would put pedestrians and traditional bicyclists at risk.
Even a longtime advocate of alternative transportation has concerns about the plan.
“I really question where the city is at with infrastructure to be able to accomodate 400 motorized vehicles,” said Glenn Eames, former owner of Old Spokes Home. “Right now, I’m concerned about releasing these machines on to the streets of Burlington.”
Eames has championed alternative forms of transportation for more than 30 years. But now he’s worried that e-bikes and e-scooters could make it more difficult for pedestrians and pedal bikes to navigate the city.
“I never thought I would see myself sitting on a panel where I wouldn’t be advocating for any form of alternative transportation,” he said.
Others said incidents across the country involving e-scooters are another reason Burlington should take its rolling out the vehicles. One person said a disabled man sued the city of San Diego after a teenager on an e-scooter lost control and caused a bicyclist to slam into his wheelchair.
“Burlington does not have a plan to do this differently,” said Samuel Lurie, a Burlington resident. “We could do this differently and innovate and really bring in a lot of different possibilities and ideas and slow it down, bring far fewer scooters and really evaluate this instead of feeling like there’s somehow pressure to jump on the bandwagon and go with this.”
Burlington is hoping to partner with Winooski and South Burlington for the program, which was first announced last month.