Seniors on Scooters Take the Lane

Greenpoint maven Miss Heather, who blogs at New York Shitty, has noticed an increase in the number of seniors wheeling their electric scooters through neighborhood bike lanes. The reason, she suspects, is that "some of our sidewalks do not necessarily make the best terrain for such vehicles (or pedestrians, for that matter)." 

After I shot this video a passerby asked me why I was laughing. I assured her I was not laughing at this woman for having mobility problems and using a scooter. I explained to her that I have seen no less than five people employ the bike lanes on Manhattan Avenue in just such a manner this week alone.

Inasmuch as some might think to the contrary, this neighborhood is not just for the young and wealthy. It’s for everyone. Way to go my fellow Greenpointers. THIS is what I call “taking back the streets”!

Streetsblog contributor Captain Disko has observed likewise down in the Slope, where double-parked delivery trucks lead to whole new hazards.

DOT’s Safe Streets for Seniors has targeted problem spots around the city for upgrades, but obstacles to senior mobility are clearly more widespread. When faced with the choice of impassable sidewalks or taking their chances among much faster moving vehicles, what are scooter-dependent seniors to do?

  • I see scooters in the lane all of the time. I tend to worry though, since they are so low, that cars won’t see them–

  • Omri Schwarz

    There is a sound medical reason for this: most of these scooters, certainly the ones Medicare pays for, do not have suspensions. Gerontologists are discovering that sidewalk seams cause severe (albeit gradual) damage to these people’s backs.

    You either spring for a suspended scooter or, you take the lane. More reason for protected lanes.

  • I live on the green painted section of the Henry Street bike lane in the heights and I have certainly noticed some motorized scooters in the lane in the past year. But the weirdest/scariest thing I saw in the bike lane was a man pushing what looked like his elderly relative(mother?) in a wheelchair the wrong way in the bike lane…AT NIGHT! At one point a cyclist riding down Henry with traffic yelled something to the effect of “unsafe!” as he passe the pair, to which the wheelchair pusher replied “fucker!”


  • Omri Schwarz

    More reason to have Dutch style bike lanes. Scooter users use them, but also people with hand-powered wheelchairs.

  • I don’t understand why Miss Heather finds this funny. Plenty of people on scooters and in wheelchairs use bike lanes, the west side greenway, and even the recreational lanes in Central Park. Since they’re faster than pedestrians I guess it’s only logical to use bike lanes. I just wish they’d go with traffic instead of against it.