Because of new technology, getting around town can feel incredibly easy with companies like Uber and Lyft transforming the way we get from point A to point B. Users now have a choice in what was once controlled by a government-backed monopoly.
The new option is and was largely cheaper, easier, and more convenient. Though government tried, the city of Oxford in particular, ride sharing became so popular that there was little government could do to stop it.
But while ride sharing has changed how we travel, massive progress has also been made in the field of micromobility where customers can use electric scooters and bikes to travel to their desired destinations. This has helped to solve the first-mile and last-mile gaps for many.
In the past year dozens of scooter and bike companies have sprung up to meet the needs of consumers expanding to many major and midsized communities, along with college towns.
Yet at the same time, scooters have hit some roadblocks with city governments opting to ban the service, often describing it as a nuisance. Essentially, the same treatment ridesharing services received from Mississippi governments not too long ago.
Though scooters are generally designed for urban areas, of which Mississippi has few, residents of midsized communities, particularly college towns, could stand to benefit greatly from local deregulation.
Oxford and Starkville stand out as the most logical destination for scooters.
Students would no longer have to worry about parking or missing a bus to class as scooters or electric bikes could supplement their transportation needs. While scooters have never made it to Oxford, they lasted less than a month in Starkville.
The city brought scooters in on a trial basis, while Mississippi State had a ban in place. Naturally, the confusing laws led many students, the biggest user of scooters, to bring the scooters on to campus, drawing the ire of university officials. Lime, the scooter operator, decided to leave the city as a result. And students were again left without this option.
In larger cities like Jackson or tourist towns along the Coast, the introduction of scooters could radically transform how transportation is thought about.
The dangers of scooters are not different than the dangers of any other mode of transportation. There are people who are reckless, whether it's on a scooter or behind the wheel. We can control bad behavior without punishing everyone else. The government just needs to err on the side of individual liberty and personal responsibility.