Move Over San Francisco; Tel Aviv is the Center of All Things E-Scooters! Electric-scooter rental companies are hitting speed bumps in the U.S. over safety and other concerns. But in Tel Aviv, one in 10 residents has rented a Bird e-scooter, and the city appears to be embracing them. WSJ’s Jason Bellini takes a look at the challenges and potential lessons of the e-scooter craze.







  • backlash – a strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development
  • outright – wholly and completely
  • lofty – of a noble or elevated nature
  • seamless – smooth and continuous, with no apparent gaps or spaces between one part and the next
  • pushback – a negative or unfavourable reaction or response
  • to hit a speedbump – to encounter something that stops a person or thing from progressing
  • to fly off the shelves to sell very quickly, to be very popular
  • batch – a quantity or consignment of goods produced at one time
  • to run on a platform – to compete, present a candidate in an election on a declaration of the principles on which a group of persons stands
  • to raise the alarm – to warn people of danger
  • tipping point – the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change


Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • What percebtage of Tel Aviv’s residents are under the age of 30? (1:10)
  • What happened in August 2018? (1:45)
  • Why are Israelis so supportive of scooters? (3:45)
  • How common are scooter injuries? (6:00)
  • Why are residents of San Francisco so opposed to scooters? (8:00)

Practice Makes Perfect

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb in brackets. Go to The Wall Street Journal to find out more.

When the first retail stores for electric scooters 1.________ (launch) in Israel in early 2018, they carried models that cost around $500 and 2.________ (can) go roughly 15 miles on a single charge.


By December, one in 10 Tel Avivians 3.________ (rent) a Bird e-scooter, according to the company — many of them riding on the Sabbath when public transportation 4.________ (shutter) from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.

It’s now common to see riders illegally speeding past pedestrians on Tel Aviv’s sidewalks. And one of Israel’s top models, Shlomit Malka, suffered a near-fatal head injury while riding an e-scooter in the city in August. Still, the public 5.________ (seem) generally at peace with e-scooters as a work-around to Tel Aviv’s transit problems.


In the U.S., where electric-scooter rentals originated, cities like San Francisco 6. ________ (face) a backlash from the public over safety concerns and how they can disrupt pedestrian flow.

In this episode of Moving Upstream, WSJ’s Jason Bellini traveled from Tel Aviv to the Bay Area to explore why Israel 7.________ (evolve) into a scooter paradise and what lessons might 8. ________ (learn) for U.S. cities struggling to solve the issues of congestion.



1. launched   2. could   3. had rented   4. is shuttered   5. seems   6. are facing   7. is evolving   8. be learned


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