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The Overhead Wire Daily | July 11th, 2024 | Two Systems and Two Wheels

July 11, 2024

One interesting item at least for me today is the Associated Press piece on delivery company Door Dash and the pressure they are feeling to reduce dangerous driving by drivers on two wheels.

What strikes me about this is that often vehicle laws in the Untied States are written with cars in mind, and so with the proliferation of small motorized delivery vehicles and a time crunch, these drivers are going to look for every edge possible in a system that wasn’t even designed for them.

When I was in China, smaller delivery vehicles weren’t allowed in the road with cars but there were ample multi-use paths and wide sidewalks with designations available which I detailed in an Instagram post. There were ramps next to steps and even on huge pedestrian overpasses these electric two wheelers would be zooming up and down.

That didn’t stop me from almost getting run over a few times as a pedestrian, but it didn’t feel as messy as in big cities sometimes do in the United States. I also heard about the ridiculous delivery time penalties that were often enforced which is also a likely source of bad behavior.

But it feels like there’s a double standard for those driving two wheelers versus cars and trucks. UPS and FedEx famously in the past have just settled up in bulk parking tickets and other moving violations made by their trucks in cities. But we haven’t really designated spaces or designed streets for smaller vehicles to mix in with passenger vehicles on steroids so we penalize them for making decisions that might not entirely be theirs.

Are there bad actors? Of course. And I don’t condone riding on sidewalks with higher speed vehicles. But it’s all about context and when the police led by the mayor decide to target a certain working community, you get 13,000 impounded vehicles. But when you’re a driver who happens to be sitting in a diner in mid-town when the governor happens to stroll through, you have the ability to impact national policy. Not sure we’re starting on equal footing here.


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