We shouldn’t be scared of innovation


July 30, 2019 4:34PM

There are a lot of issues currently facing Nashville: massive levels of debt despite an unprecedented economic boom, crumbling infrastructure, a growing sense of an identity crisis, and fights over public employee pay raises. One would think these very real issues would be at the forefront of the council’s work and the mayoral race. But of course, that’s expecting too much. What is the issue dominating the mayoral race and council business? Good ole’ scooters.

After the Mayor originally called for banning all scooters, the council voted to “allow” scooters to continue in Nashville with even more stringent regulations and restrictions.  Now, only three companies will have the privilege of operating in the city. These companies will have their supply of scooters cut by 50% and are mandated to hire 2 employees per 100 scooters. Want be one of the three companies? Better get ready to kiss the ring. Even after all these new regulations, Metro government has still said they could ban them permanently.

Meanwhile, there is no discussion about banning pedal taverns. I don’t know a single person who likes them yet they still exist. Side rant over.

These new regulations on scooters come after rising safety concerns and the tragic death of Brady Gaulke in May.  Certainly, our leaders should work to make our cities and roads safer. But we must remember, no matter how hard it tries, the government can’t guarantee our safety, or that we are safe.  When new innovative technologies come, especially in transportation, there is always a learning curve.

Imagine when cars were first invented and became popular: there were no lanes, traffic lights, turn lanes etc. Here’s a picture from Los Angeles in the 1920s, for example.

Just looking at the chaos makes me shudder. Needless to say, there were accidents everywhere, probably injuries, and even deaths. While traffic may not seem much better today, over time we’ve added infrastructure and there are rules to the road. But, even after a hundred years of rules and technology improvements, over 1 million people still die in car crashes a year, with over one thousand in Tennessee last year alone.  Yet, we don’t limit how many car companies we allow on the road, or mandate how people the car companies have on staff on-call or limit the number of cars they can sell. If it’s really about public safety, I’d really like to hear the council make the argument for banning cars on Nashville’s streets or forcing Ford to compete with Hyundai for the right to operate in the city.

Even riding public transit, despite the left’s obsession with it, can be dangerous. In the past year, MTA buses have been in dozens of accidents and caused injuries with one death.

Life and innovation are dangerous and chaotic. Change always is. But in the end, we’re better off. Imagine a life without cars, planes, or buses. Years from now, after we learn to adapt, we might even say the same about scooters. But if the market says we don’t care for scooters, they’ll naturally go the way of the dodo bird. That is, if the Nashville mayor and council allow us to make that pick. Otherwise, as the government is apt to do, they will try to make that decision for us.