Electric scooters, the hype of the last few years, are taking over the roads and sidewalks for better or worse. I guess this is one of those mandatory posts, like “This is my home office”, for a blog so I highly doubt I’ll add anything new to the conversation but here we go!
I’ll try and write down my thoughts, from the perspective of a pedestrian, cyclist and the occasional car driver. I’m don’t own and neither have I rented a scooter, therefore I suspect that my opinions are biased against these vehicles but I’m trying to keep an open mind.
There are however a couple of aspects that I really like with these vehicles
- Easy to drive, they seem to be at least.
- Convenient because you don’t need to service them, someone else will do it for you. At a premium cost of course. 💰
- Convenient to pick up and drop off, because you can do it almost anywhere.
- Good with the current pandemic, to be able to avoid public transportation but still get around.
- Enables alternative routes from A to B, where no public transportation is available.
- Have fewer things in general, a sharing economy of sorts.
There are of course problems with these vehicles, I’m sure the list could be made a lot longer but I’ll try and cap it.
- Promotes lazy behaviour, no need to walk any longer than to the nearest scooter.
- Promotes careless behaviour, because it’s not your scooter. There is no sense of ownership so these vehicles gets butchered by their users.
- Can park everywhere, which blocks the road for pedestrians and cars alike, a hazard specifically for people with vision impairment.
- Uneducated drivers, since there is no required license, they go wherever they please.
- Joyriding seems to be quite the large usecase of these vehicles more than a form of transportation.
- Multiple persons on one scooter, which reduces maneuverability and adds another distraction for the driver.
- Difficult to hear for a person with hearing impairment. Difficult for anyone to hear to be honest.
- Even more batteries needs to be produced at the cost of the environment.
I was recently very close to hitting one of these vehicles, and not because its driver was throwing themselves into the traffic, but because they had chosen the most convenient parking spot in their mind; in the middle of the road.
These vehicles are convenient but personally I believe that they are a net negative. Good old fashion bikes are cheap, better for the environment and as a added benefit also good for your health.
How many of the negative points would have to change for it to be a net neutral experience for me, as a non rider?
- Stricter parking, create zones where it’s ok to leave the scooter. If not in the zone, automatic fine. Do it a couple of times and you get banned. Scooters not parked in random places where it could cause danger.
- Increased and enforced age limit, to reduce joy riding and hopefully have more mature users that can adhere to traffic rules. There seems to be an age limit of 18+, but there are be quite a few kids on these vehicles.
- Enforce that there is only one occupant. This should be in the best interest of the companies that own these vehicles, because they could increase their revenue. Batteries would last longer, since there is less weight to move around and they get to rent out two vehicles instead of one! 🤑
I feel that these points are needed to keep these vehicles on our roads and pavements, and for me it might just be enough to reach net neutral.
In the end I think these vehicles are unnecessary and I suggest a good old fashion bike instead. You can pick one up for a low price, you’ll learn how to take care of things and you’ll get some free exercise!