As visitors and workers in the Washington, D.C., area slowly return from the Covid-19 home-stay restrictions, they may be hit with a worry about a different kind of distancing: Keeping themselves safe on byways more heavily trafficked by bicycles and scooters, notably rental models whose mechanical soundness is under increasing question.
It is difficult to predict precisely how a new normal will settle over what had become for many a difficult and sometimes distressing trip to and from the office, or for throngs of tourists, visits to sites scattered across the metropolitan area.
But transportation experts know that health precautions may force a lightening of the load on public transit, whether trains, buses, or the subway. More people may crush into the District of Columbia in cars, worsening the commuting nightmares. That also may push workers and travelers into heavier reliance on bikes and scooters — a practice that District officials had sought to foster before the coronavirus struck. They had started to thin the number of startups renting e-scooters with apps and credit cards, promising to supervise the enterprises’ activities more closely and to crackdown on the businesses’ related hazards.