Electric Scooters and the New Mobility Wave

If you are not yet one of the many people who ride an electric scooter for commute purposes, you might be wondering what all the hype is about. Electric scooters are taking over cities all over the world, but their increasing popularity also brings new issues up for debate and new challenges when it comes to transportation rules and regulations.

Electric scooters new wave - image of commuter on scooter
Image: https://thescooterist.com/

New Technologies and Transportation

Advanced data-driven technologies, innovative services, and mentality changes are all part of a widespread phenomenon known as the new mobility, that encompasses an entirely different way to look at urban transportation and its impact for future generations. People are starting to change the way they get around and that is why policies and regulations should also start to reflect these changes.

The transport sector is connected to over 1 million deaths annually and is responsible for a big percent of global gas emissions. That is why safety issues, traffic, and pollution are huge topics. And all of these are amplified by the fast growth of cities in middle-income states and traffic overcrowding in wealthy countries, which brings up the question of sustainable mobility.

With data showing that most vehicles are used for short trips, that are less than six miles, the possibility of actually replacing cars for commutes, for example, with scooters and bikes, is very significant.

Scooter Use Is Increasingly Popular

In only a couple of years, scooters took over cities all over the world. They went from being considered a toy or a childish hobby to a legitimate means of transportation. Electric scooters are part of the new mobility because they bring benefits not only to users but even to cities. They are fast, fun, accessible, and easy. But this was possible thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of mobility services.

Basically, as soon as scooters adopted the rental business model, their usage rate exploded. People in big cities, with long commutes, can simply rent an electric scooter, without the cost of actually owning one. Smartphone apps revolutionized transportation and attracted a huge number of scooter riders. This also helped transportation startups to extend and develop.

Scooters and Safety Issues

Scooters can’t, obviously, reach high speeds, but the danger comes from the lack of any type of padding or airbags that could provide protection in case of an impact. Scooter riders risk hitting an immovable object, which can cause serious injuries. The scooter wheels can get stuck on uneven sidewalks. And, of course, scooters riders face the danger of fast-moving vehicles.

Anybody who rides a scooter needs to respect traffic rules and should wear proper equipment and a helmet for protection, especially if they are riding in high-traffic areas. An important thing to note is that a lot of people ride scooters in traffic without having enough experience and practice with scooters. Although it looks simple, this means of transportation requires learning and caution.

Also, due to the fact that scooters are still relatively new in urban landscapes, there is no consensus over the best practices for riding scooters in cities. A great deal of injuries, as well as conflicts between riders, drivers, and pedestrians could be avoided if more clear regulations were established and if everybody was informed about what the best practices are.

Electric scooters - image of two men scootering along a road
Image: https://unsplash.com/

Can Scooters Reduce Pollution and Car Traffic?

Scooter enthusiasts are quick to praise their benefits and to envision a future where everybody would ride a scooter for their commute to work, but it turns out that things are not that simple.

First of all, electric scooters depend on the city’s source of electric energy. If this source comes from coal or natural gas, we can’t say that scooters are reducing pollution. Plus, there’s the question of what scooters are replacing. Do scooters make people drive their cars less or, in fact, make people walk less?

If people replaced commuting by car entirely with riding a scooter, the positive impact on the environment would be significant. Also, the car traffic would decrease a lot. It looks like people in big cities are not there yet, but the trend of using scooters for urban journeys is certainly increasing and contributing to more sustainable transportation.


Interesting related article: “What is Pollution?