Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Timothy Brezina

Second Advisor

Richard Wright

Third Advisor

William Sabol

Fourth Advisor

Stacie Kershner


In 2018, dockless, shareable micromobility devices arrived on Atlanta’s streets and sidewalks. The carrier companies that brought them did not coordinate their rollout with city officials. Much like the case in other cities where micromobility devices were introduced, Atlanta did not have the opportunity to prepare for them, meaning that the city had no oversight of the industry. The consequences were rampant clutter, increased danger to riders, pedestrians, and drivers of automobiles, and device-related crimes. News media outlets closely covered the challenges brought on by “e-scooters,” as they came to be known. Eventually, Atlanta passed regulations that expanded the city’s control over the industry but hindered it in the process. This led to vocal backlash, with some Atlantan’s asserting that the scooters and their riders should not shoulder all of the blame, and that automobiles and a lack of suitable infrastructure for innovative transportation technologies were more culpable. This raises questions about why the regulations targeted micromobility in Atlanta instead of other forms of transportation, and what the extent of the impacts of those regulations were. The current study obtains theoretical guidance from the Blackian framework, which proposes in part that socially disadvantaged entities will be vulnerable to legal intervention when they violate or threaten relatively more advantaged entities. To answer the questions at hand, the central investigation consists of a thematic analysis of news media sources (N = 243) to assess the presence of themes that align with the Blackian domains of social space and social time. Themes emerged from the data that suggest that micromobility devices, their riders, and the industry itself were portrayed in a manner that made them vulnerable to legislative intervention. The impact of the regulations is explored through a collection of rider citation reports (N = 100) and internal City of Atlanta communications. Findings suggest that the regulations heavily altered the micromobility market in Atlanta. Conclusions, policy implications, and recommendations for future research are offered.