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If only Bird scooters could fly: Vandalism of electric scooters leave investors cold




A pedestrian walks past two Bird dockless scooters, one laying on its side, in the middle of a sidewalk in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, California, July 10, 2018. - Dozens of cities across the US are grappling with the growing trend of electric scooters which users can unlock with a smartphone app.  Scooter startups including Bird and competitor Lime allow riders to park them anywhere that doesn't block pedestrian walkways but residents in some cities, including Los Angeles, say they often litter sidewalks and can pose a danger to pedestrians. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past two Bird dockless scooters, one laying on its side, in the middle of a sidewalk in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, California, July 10, 2018. - Dozens of cities across the US are grappling with the growing trend of electric scooters which users can unlock with a smartphone app. Scooter startups including Bird and competitor Lime allow riders to park them anywhere that doesn't block pedestrian walkways but residents in some cities, including Los Angeles, say they often litter sidewalks and can pose a danger to pedestrians. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

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In the year since electric scooters first blazed through Los Angeles and San Francisco, the growth in the industry has skyrocketed, but according to The Wall Street Journal, certain issues are proving cause for hesitation among potential investors.

Companies like Bird and Lime are not yet two years old, and though they saw exponential growth, the future of the market remains a mystery. One of the biggest question marks rests on how e-scooter producers plan on curbing and preventing the vandalization of their commodity. In addition to common breakages or riders leaving scooters in unsafe areas, purposefully destroying the scooters has become somewhat of a sport, with Instagram accounts like @birdgraveyard showing people throwing scooters off roofs or setting them on fire.

We discuss the vandalism issues and how e-scooter companies might adapt their products to alleviate the increase in damages.

Guests:

Greg Bensinger, tech reporter at The Wall Street Journal

Patrick Sisson, senior reporter covering urbanism and transportation for Curbed L.A.; he tweets @patrickcsisson