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Scooters are on the loose in Grand Rapids

Posted at 8:27 AM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 08:40:27-04

KENT — City owned scooters are on the loose in Grand Rapids, many have been spotted illegally parked, misused and abused; an Instagram account growing in popularity called @GR_scootsontheloose is shining a light on the problem.

The user-generated content shows pictures and videos of Spin scooters in trees, apartment complexes and front lawns. One guy is even seen sleeping with a scooter, while another is spotted at the bottom of the Grand River.

Carl Sobel, local comedian says the public has been sharing their pictures with him, which he posts to his Instagram account along with a funny, inspirational quote.

“I was driving with my girlfriend and I just saw a scooter just laying in a field, I told her we should keep track of them,” Sobel said.

Grand Rapids has more than 175 parking spots designated with white paint on city sidewalks, specifically for the city’s micro-mobility Spin scooters. Sobel’s content was meant to be funny but it’s also sparking conversation about how people are not being responsible with public property.

“We’re well aware of some of the parking issues, the parking issues have been one of the biggest challenges since the pilot started,” said Justin Kimura, GR Assistant Mobile Director.

The pilot program with Spin, a San Francisco based company, launched at the end of September of 2019 for $400,000. Since then roughly 20 scooters have been decommissioned, lost or broken due to improper usage. It’s a small percentage of the city’s scooter fleet, but Sobel and the city is reminding everyone we can do better, especially since ridership is expected to increase with warm weather.

“Please respect the ‘scoots’ and treat them with the dignity they deserve,” Sobel said.

As the weather continues to warm, Kimura projects ridership to increase.

Spin’s one-year pilot is coming to an end, and the city plans to bring on a second vendor in the coming months offering both electric scooters and motorized bicycles.