When the people of Paris revolt, they’d build barricades to block the roads with anything they had handy. This has been true for centuries, and it has included everything from carts to furniture to the very cobble stones of the street. Tuesday afternoon, Parisians engaged in demonstrations sympathetic with American Black Lives Matter protests as well as against their own police brutality problem. And they are doing as their ancestors did and turning to what the street provides: piles of unloved and unused e-scooters.
Sure there’s a few chairs and motor bikes mixed in there, but e-scooters form the real bones of the burning structure.
We never talk about dockless electric scooters anymore, probably because they mostly suck and proved to be nothing more than a money drain. (It’s possible that bros threw them all into trees and swimming pools in the interim. We haven’t checked.)
Many cities and even whole countries began banning the scooters last year due to safety concerns and nuisance complaints, CNN reports. Once the novelty wore off, scooter companies began losing money hand over fist. They then focused operations to only the most densely populated cities. Covid-19 will probably now kill off the stragglers that the free market failed to, but until then we still have piles of dockless Birds and their ilk in cities around the world.
It’s not just the Parisians who have taken to using e-scooters for other than their intended purpose, which I assume was primarily to give people horrific injuries but make it look fun. Protesters in Los Angeles also made their own barricade using scooters, as Mother Jones points out.
There are also examples of people using scooters to smash windows and attack police cruisers in some areas. They certainly do have enough heft to make a handy club when left laying around.
Could anyone have foreseen a scenario where these ownerless, homeless hunks of metal would be used in such a way?
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.