Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

This week, I was turning the corner onto our street/ house after a lovely evening (7 pm) walk with the dog. As with many dogs, though she is very friendly and well-trained, she’s terrified of skateboards and dockless scooters when they’re in motion and making noise. Knowing this, as I saw a young man on a scooter approaching us quickly, headphones in (corded for context), I held my dog by the collar and moved her as far to the edge of the sidewalk as I could.

With the other hand, I waved frantically to him. I finally got his attention and politely asked him to wait for us to round the corner to our house rather than zooming past us, because my dog (pointing to the cute, but growingly anxious, 60-lbs rescue shepherd mix I was physically restraining) doesn’t do well around scooters. If he could wait 20 seconds for us to get out of his pathway that would be great.

He told me to f*&k off and that if my dog had a problem with him scooting on the sidewalk, it should be put down, it’s not his problem and proceeded to zoom right by us.

Noticing he was still wearing his Hill badge on his belt (intern, of course, even without the badge any dc dweller or former Hill staffer could have called it), I made a split second decision. I wasn’t going to let this inconsiderate little jerk get off that easy. Rather than continuing to tightly restrain the aforementioned large and tough looking shepherd mix, who has a very tough sounding bark (she’s not tough at all, total slug) I gave her a little more leash and let her get too close for his comfort, while barking like crazy. He wavered on the scooter a bit and probably saw his future ability to have children flash before his eyes, but was not harmed in any way and kept zooming down the sidewalk passing other pedestrians with zero regard.

Admittedly, that wasn’t the take high road, set a good example for the kids, neighborly thing to do, but he wasn’t exactly neighborly either.

Unsurprisingly, I’m not a regular scooter rider. I find it annoying when they’re ditched in the middle of the sidewalk but I get it, they’re economical, a helluva lot more reliable than metro and they’re easily accessible. So my question is, are scooters supposed to be on sidewalks? Are the various scooter companies (Lime, Bird, Skip, etc.) providing rules of use or tips on how not to be a selfish jerk while riding? Is there anything that non-scooter riding dc dwellers, particularly dog owners, can do to avoid sidewalk scuffles? Is there any official recourse with the scooter companies or the city?

I know, cue the scooter riding masses that will say I’m the unreasonable A$*&@?!e or that my dog should be punished for being scared of an unknown object flying at her eye level at 10 + miles per hour. But seriously, DC is a dog-loving city with rescues doing wonderful work to find pups loving homes here and scooters serve as a useful transit option, so I’d truly like dogs and scooters to coexist.”

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