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Don’t Drive Your Scooter On The Sidewalk Like The McDonalds GoodMorningSTL Commercial

April 9, 2013 Featured, Media, Scooters, Walkability 17 Comments

If you watch local television no doubt you’ve seen a McDonald’s “Good Morning St. Louis” commercial filmed in the Delmar Loop, from a January RFT Gut Check report:

Gut Check spotted a film crew and a guy on a moped wearing a McDonald’s jacket in front of Chuck Berry Plaza this morning, and we just hoofed it down the block from Gut Check International Headquarters to confirm that McDonald’s is indeed shooting a TV commercial at the University City, um, landmark.

At 9 a.m., a crew set up a limited McDonald’s breakfast menu and a call box like the kind used to place orders in drive-throughs. When inquisitive pedestrians walk by and decide to try to order from the seemingly random speaker, much to their surprise (or maybe not, given that there are camera crews all over), a guy rides up on the aforementioned moped to deliver fresh, hot McDonald’s food to the person who placed the order. (RFT)

Each time I see the commercial I keep thinking it’s getting people okay with the idea of driving a motor scooter on the public sidewalk — a very bad idea. Illegal too.

Screenshot from McDonald's commercial showing a scooter delivering food on the sidewalk. Click image to view commercial in YouTube.
Screenshot from McDonald’s commercial showing a scooter delivering food on the sidewalk. Click image to view commercial in YouTube.

Hopefully McDonald’s obtained permits to close the sidewalk during filming but I’m disappointed it shows an illegal act.

On the positive side I do like they’re doing locally-focused commercials.

— Steve Patterson

  • moe

    Someone paid for that commercial? It is illegal, dangerous, and in my opinion, a stupid commercial

  • Julia Damon

    Stop being such a Brit. Who cares if it’s illegal. It was perfectly safe. Plus, it’s a commerical. Look, I live in a European city and people do this CONSTANTLY. I mean, if you came to my city, you’d FLIP OUT. I’m laughing just thinking about it. Of course, we have one of the most BIKE-FRIENDLY and PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY cities in ALL OF THE WORLD!!! I’m from St. Louis and I have an agenda when I’m coming back. Oh boy I do. And it is to change a very closed minded culture.

    You’re all about rules rules rules. But you fail to realize that we need to create a culture, a culture that’s NOT just about rules. A culture that’s bike friends and pedestrian friendly. Who cares if a little motor scooter pops on a sidewalk when no one’s there. Who cares if someone runs a red light when no one’s there. The rules are there to be broken. Rules are guidelines. I live in a place that doesn’t care about the legality of things as much as it does creating a beautifully diverse culture. There are people everywhere. It’s great. The city is ALIVE. Unfortunately St. Louis is not.

    Get your priorities straight. Btw, I’m from St. Louis and I’m 25. I’m the young green generation that will lead the city into the future when all of you reading this blog passes away. I believe St. Louis will become a more bike friendly and pedestrian friendly city when those in authority seek to change the culture that we live in. St. Louis can be very closed minded. OPEN UP. Look at things from a European perspective. Model city spaces after European city spaces. These cities still exist today because they have been successful and some after more than 2000 years. You’ll see the difference in no time when you all learn to open up.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      I’m a 46 year old disabled person that often uses a wheelchair but too often I encounter others who think they have more of a right to the sidewalk than I do. See http://urbanreviewstl.com/2013/04/sidewalks-are-for-people-not-vehicles/

      • Julia Damon

        Steve, you have more of a right to the sidewalk than anyone. Where I live, people would honor you. People would be very glad to get out of your way. People would do every they could to assist you. I see people in wheelchairs all the time here. They never have an issue because the culture here is open. Again, let’s work together to change the culture.

    • mallory

      Thank you Julia! Finally a young person with some common sense. We can all learn from this. Change the culture. That is the key.

    • Daniel

      I dig sharing space, changing culture toward pedestrians and bicycles, etc., but I don’t want motorized scooters on the sidewalk of the Loop in a TV commercial because some people here will take it as an invitation to drive their motorized scooters on the sidewalk when someone *is* there. As for running a red when “no one’s there”, I’ve been nearly t-boned a number of times in the city because of that attitude. And not for nothing, but sometimes, the light is red because the police use traffic signal preemption. They sometimes need to run hard and dark, too, so you wouldn’t know they’re coming.

      As a St. Louis city homeowner (and a 26 year old member of that “leading the city” generation), I prefer a “broken windows theory” attitude toward rules. When the little things get ignored, the nasty elements come out and see it as open season.

      Last but not least, I resent the “St. Louis is not alive” dig. I live here. As I wrote this post, I watched half a dozen folks walk by on my one-way residential street. It’s diverse, too. St. Louisans can be closed-minded, but so too are others’ attitudes about the place.

      • moe

        Well Said!!! Some rules maybe deemed useless or unneccesary, but no rules is anarchy. Screw you, I’ve got mine and move out of the way is not acceptable.

        • blake

          Julia actually never said anything about scrapping rules completely. Some rules are necessary but we have way too many which creates a very legalistic culture that is difficult to get away from. Ultimately, and very sadly, the American “it’s the law” mentality isn’t going to change very easily. And unfortunately, as Daniel hinted at, many St. Louisans would probably just negatively take advantage of having freer regulations. But I completely agree with what Julia says, we need to seriously change the St. Louis close-minded culture. Of course, not everyone is closed-minded but is it no wonder that the most successful St. Louisans today have been born elsewhere? Think about it!

          • JZ71

            Having and following rules does not equal close-minded. If you don’t like the rules, (work to) change them. Ignoring them, as in rolling through four-way stops, in your car or on your bike, is one St. Louis classic (of potential anarchy). Houston is the poster child for no rules when it comes to land use, as are many rural areas. Anytime you live in groups, there needs to be a framework for peaceful coexistence, aka “rules”, since some people are either clueless or only care about themselves. And reread what Julia posted: “Who cares if someone runs a red light when no one’s there. The rules are there to be broken. Rules are guidelines.” No, rules are rules. How do you know if “no one’s there”?! That’s why rules and laws about things like smoking and guns are so controversial – different people have different preferences and expectations . . . .

          • moe

            I’m curious as to what European city Julia lives in. Especially since there are apparently few rules to follow.

    • blake

      Thanks Julia for a refreshing point of view!

  • Urban Reason

    A little late to this conversation, but I feel it’s worth mentioning… I spent some time last year in the beautiful, dense, urban city of Taipei in Taiwan. Scooters were the dominent mode of personal transportation. Traffic operated very differently there. While the roads were always packed, they seemed absent the reverence we give them here. People stopped in the middle of the road frequently in cars and scooters, no one honked or screamed about how their precious lane was blocked and traffic was being impeded. Like a school of fish, everyone goes around.

    Scooters were often (very frequently) seen on sidewalks, mingling with pedestrians. No one ran anyone over, no one seemed to express a sentiment that they owned the space more than anyone else. Everyone shared and accommodated each other. As a western urbanist, always obsessed about who should be where and who should respect who’s space on the road or the sidewalk – this was therapeutic. I don’t think it matters if scooters are on the sidewalk, as long as people can respect and accomodate each other.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      I really like the idea of shared space where everyone is respected. The question is how do we go from our current pedestrians don’t matter viewpoint to that?

      • Urban Reason

        A worthy path to ponder for sure, one I don’t have a good answer for. Pedestrian space in Taipei was definitely more expansive than most places in the midwest, and certainly the cultural mentality of the northern Taiwanese seemed very different than that of the every-man-for-himself goldminin’ glunslingin’ west. To my surprise, there was a deeper sense of both personal liberty and civility than anything I’ve experienced in dense American cities.

        Sometimes, though, I can’t help but wonder if our litigious nature – the way we so intensely regulate our use of space in favor of one thing or another – doesn’t help foster a hostile environment for everyone. By this, I don’t mean things like adding bike-lanes or widening sidewalks. But we tend to outlaw anything we think MAY cause a problem rather than outlawing the problematic act itself. In LA, for instance, you can’t have dogs on beaches or in most parks. You also can’t drink any alcoholic beverage on public beaches. So rather than being concerned with those specific acts that cause problems (not picking up after your dog, littering, public inebriation), we just criminalize everyone who does something that MAY lead to those acts.

        With regard to things like Scooters on sidewalks – do we want to come down on everyone who has their scooter on a public sidewalk, or just those who do so with reckless disregard for others? Naturally there’s the question of “how do you prosecute for that”? I don’t know, but I remember a post many years back you made about how you got a ticket for parking your scooter on a sidewalk, which I remember feeling so angry about. If we want to encourage people to use smaller, more efficient modes of transporation – we shouldn’t make it more difficult for starters. The scooter on the sidewalk in and of itself doesn’t harm anyone, in the same way that drinking or having your dog on the beach doesn’t, in-and-of-itself, harm anyone. So I guess I’m just reluctant to be to harsh on someone having a scooter on a sidewalk, as long as they’re being respectful of others.

        It begs the question: Is it worse to trust people to be responsible, or assume they won’t be? I’m not sure.

        • JZ71

          Agree, in concept, but that would mean changing American human nature/nurture in a very fundamental way. Much like texting while driving, seeing crotch rockets going twice the speed limit on the freeway while weaving in and out of traffic and/or doing wheelies, all it takes is a few idiots “to spoil it for everyone” and “there ought to be a law” comes out in force. I’d also wager that Taipei, being an island, doesn’t see the same “need” to cover great distances quickly – how many residents there commute 20 or 30 miles, each way, every day, to and from work?

          • Urban Reason

            I will say, with regard to the question “how many residents there commute 20 or 30 miles, each way, every day, to and from work”: For a city so dense (25,000/sq mi) I was surprised by how much time people spent commuting every day. It may not have been the same distance, but travel time was probably equal if not greater than a 20-30 mile midwest commute. The need to cover those distances, however, is fulfilled (for many) by excellent modern (more than anything in the states) inner and intra city transit. But the roads are equally (if not more) packed, as compared to American cities.

          • JZ71

            Thus, the real discussion centers on density and its impacts. In a dense environment, people, necessarily, have to learn to share a very scarce resource, physical space. In a dense environment, real estate gets very expensive very quickly. In a dense environment, congestion both increases commuting times, even over short distances, and creates an environment where public transportation becomes more critical, doable and useable. (I’m old enough to remember when the daytime speed limit in wide-open Montana was “reasonable and proper”, and not any, specific number – density brings friction which brings rules.)

            As for our “litigious nature”, I’d wager that Taipei has just as many rules, both written and unwritten, as we do. The difference is likely in how they’re enforced. We do rely on our courts (and the fear of being in court) to be the final arbiter, while other societies rely more on peer and class pressures. It all boils down to respect, respecting each other, as individuals and as members of groups, even if they have different beliefs, perspectives or viewpoints. We, as a society, seem to be moving more toward one where we’re each individually entitled to do whatever we want because we’re special, above average and we’re damn sure that we know best. The result will either be increased cooperation, out of necessity, or anarchy. If it’s the former, the need to litigate and regulate may wane; if it’s the latter, I’d expect more regulation and “oppression” of individual “freedoms”, not less . . . .

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