Scooter-sharing structures similar to city bike schemes have emerged as their popularity has grown in more than 100 cities around the world.
But this tiny-wheeled transportation revolution could end as fast as it started.
While they have drawn admirers for their ease and enjoyment, they have also suffered the irritated people’s wrath of having to jump out of people riding across sidewalks or jumping over scooters lying on their road.
There are also growing safety concerns and environmental liability questions about their use.
Singapore this month announced a trial ban on e-scooters on sidewalks that could become next year’s all-out ban. After the death of a rider who collided with an e-scooter, it took the decision, says Lam Pin Min, senior minister of state for transport. Local news reports said one hospital in Singapore confirmed six deaths in 2019 from scooter riders.
In France, a ban on pedestrian scooters was implemented in September, three months after a driver was hit and killed by a truck.
Scooters are also banned from all public roads, sidewalks and cycle lanes in the UK— although this has not stopped them from being a regular presence on all three.
The UK now insists that distributors including Amazon put safety warnings on packaging, a measure introduced in October following the killing of an e-scooter in London in July by a YouTube star, Emily Hartridge.
Disproportionately affecting’ disabled people The scooter boom is marketed as a safe way to get around big cities, with leasing services working in the same manner as city bike schemes. You pick them up, pay for them by the minute, and drop them off at your destination.
Where some city bicycles often have parking stations— where the bikes have to be returned for stopping charges— scooters can be picked up or dropped off anywhere.
And while that may be useful — apps such as Lime, Bird, so endless local spinoffs include live maps showing consumers where the closest scooters are — this causes problems for other road users.
This summer, Simon Minty, a mobility and inclusion expert hosting the BBC’s Ouch Mobility Show, was in Brussels when he stumbled across rusty scooters lining the streets.
“I’m expecting that these two-wheeled electric scooters will be very distracting,” he wrote.”They seem to be abandoned everywhere I go, in the middle of the pavement. I saw three people coming to my hotel from the station. ”
Minty says a friend who had been to Paris said the situation in the French capital before the September ban was” the same. ”
Disabled people are” disproportionately affected, “he says. “You’re going to hit these, and you’re going to be loaded totally.”
Lime scooters were brought by a central operations team to warehouses at night, a spokesperson said. Caroline Hazlehurst, senior director at Bird, said Bird’s scooters are collected “regularly, although not always every day… How we obtain them adjustments from nation to nation.”
But she added: “Every town and city in the world is suffering from the same two problems: too many cars creating congestion, which in turn leads to poor air quality.”