• OjO Electric Scooters are Banned From Hoboken

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    The crowd cheers, the crowd boos — it’s a conflicted world out there in scooter-land these days. This morning in Hoboken, Mayor Bhalla terminated the OjO electric scooter contract in the City of Hoboken. OjO, along with Lime have been the two e-scooter companies participating in Hoboken’s pilot program that began in May 2019. According to the terms of the contract, OjO will have 48 hours to remove all e-scooters from Hoboken. As of 3:00PM on September 12th, OjO scooters are no longer rentable in Hoboken.

    ojo scooters banned hoboken

    “The electric scooter sharing programs have been widely popular in Hoboken, and have provided a valuable, green alternative transportation method utilized by tens-of-thousands of riders,” said Mayor Bhalla. “At the same time, the safety and well-being of our residents is my number one priority. That’s why today, after listening to the concerns of residents, and an evaluation of the OjO scooter program over the past three months, I’ve decided to terminate the contract. We expect that any transportation company, including e-scooters, provide adequate education, enforcement and adapt with the appropriate technology to safely operate on our streets. Unfortunately, this has not occurred with OjO.

    This decision seems to be related to an incident that garnered some local media attention within the past 24 hours — a mother and her 3-month-old baby were hit by an OjO scooter riding on the sidewalk yesterday in Hoboken. In a series of tweets, the mother described the account in which she was pushing her double-wide stroller and the underaged OjO rider ran into her, bruising her leg. She went to the urgent care center to make sure she was okay even after police and other responders checked her out at the scene. Thankfully, her baby was unharmed, according to her pediatrician who checked him out after as well {via her tweets}. Her full series of tweets can be read here.

    She also started a change.org petition which can be found here.

     

    Shortly following the tweets, Mayor Bhalla released  a series of tweets, stating that OjO’s contract would be terminated, effective immediately:

     

    “My administration remains committed to sustainable transportation options, along with safe riding through the implementation of protected bike lanes. We will continue to lead in this field by working to improve all methods of transportation within our city, which includes the Lime e-scooters. I appreciate Lime’s continued efforts to improve the e-scooter sharing experience for all users and look forward to working with them to making even more improvements throughout the remainder of the pilot period.”

    News of the ban spread quickly on social media. Responses were mixed, with some thrilled about it, and others not as keen. 

    Kimberley Bueno Schoenig a local resident and business owner, wrote on our Instagram feed about the decision, “What is really frustrating is that most of these incidents are from riders that are underage. There are many responsible riders, but most of the diruption are caused by kids. Parents need to take more responsibility. Scooters can be dangers if used improperly and while Ojo could be taking more initiative to bring awareness to the community, I think it’s also important to spread the word around the community that is not okay for young kids to be riding on scooters. You need a driver’s license to ride. If you know a parent that allows their kid to ride a scooter under their driver’s license, please educate them.”

    Another user, @neuroticmommy, had different sentiments, “I’m so tired of ALL the scooters. Every day I see mostly adults breaking the laws, riding with their kids, not stopping at stop signs or for the crossing guards. Just yesterday the crossing guard on my route held a kid back in the middle of the street because a LIME rider refused to stop. It’s out of control and really shows you the sense of entitlement these people have. When you’re riding an electric anything that’s going 18mph, you’re not a pedestrian.”

    Others expressed support for scooters and OjO in general, with @pdough7 writing, “the main reason I moved from the suburbs was not needing to rely on cars. I have found scooters to be a good alternative when you don’t want to arrive sweating from biking/don’t have time to walk/ a little too far to carry groceries.”

    Some users on Twitter shared similar thoughts, with one user writing, “Not for anything, but these same incidents could happen wirh[sic] a bike – are we going to remove all of the bikes from the town too? The point of the scooters is to allow residents without cars to have an easier commute around town that is wildly better for environment”.

    Still more wrote things like, “Thank god,” and “finally” — citing the scooters being dangerous and tough to regulate. In a poll on our Instagram stories which has hundreds of votes currently, 81% agree with Mayor Bhalla’s decision to terminate OjO, with only 19% disagreeing.

    It’s clearly a hot-button issue as scooters appear to be helping commuters with their travels but also are being misused by some — with injuries of both pedestrians and riders being the most common concern. You can view the comment threads on our Instagram feed here.

    As far as Lime scooters, their fate remains to be seen as they’re up for renewal in November. Since Lime and Hoboken began the pilot program in Hoboken in late May, more than 60,000 unique riders have taken over 400,000 rides. Over 17,000 users have taken at least five rides on Lime e-scooters. According to hMag, between OjO and Lime, there have been 275,000+ trips adding up to 250,000+ miles traveled which translates into 8,000+ gallons of gas and 250,000+ lbs of CO2 saved.

    But, as of September 18th, the City of Hoboken has taken the scooter ban to another level. The City Council voted to ban e-scooters from the North and South waterfront walkways and City Parks all together, according to Patch.com. This new ban will be in place for the rest of Hoboken’s pilot program with e-scooters, which expires November 20th.

    The biggest question though, if scooters are fully banned in Hoboken in November — what are Twitter accounts like Bad Scooters Hoboken possibly going to do with their free time?

     


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.