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How can e-scooters become a safer way to travel?

I’ve shared some articles and opinions about electric scooters. Here is another one that delves into the safety about these vehicles that have become quite popular in the US. Here in the Philippines, they still seem to be in infancy in terms of popularity and to some, are seen as more a novelty and touristy rather than a mode of transport for the typical work trips.

Donahue, B (June 11, 2022) “How to Make Electric Scooters Become a Safer Way to Travel,” Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-06-11/how-to-make-electric-scooters-safer [Last accessed: 6/18/2022]

To quote from the article:

“Dediu believes that in time micromobility will attain critical mass, as other modes of transit have already done, and that infrastructure will come as the user base grows. “We didn’t build airports and then have airplanes show up,” he’s said. “I’m confident, given the history, that we’ll see things like more safe roadways for micromobility vehicles.” “

Scoot-to-work at BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila

It is not really about the vehicle but the environment in which it is being used. One can say a lot about walking, for example, being dangerous but without touching on the why and the how its become a dangerous or risky mode of travel. It’s the lack of infrastructure or facilities as well as the car-oriented environment (that includes archaic laws and other regulations) that make active mobility and micro mobility modes dangerous or risky. If we can address these basic issues, then perhaps we can entice more people to use these modes more often and for the most trips we make everyday.

And don’t forget that these modes are the most fuel efficient! Saves you from the every increasing prices of fuel!

Lessons to be learned about e-scooters

I recently wrote about e-scooters and I am sharing this article on the experience of Chicago from their pilots of this emerging new mobility option.

I won’t be offering much in terms of opinions at this point as there really hasn’t been much about e-scooters at present in the country. You see them every now and again but not as frequently as motorcycles and bicycles. There seems to be something about them on social media but out on the road, they are not yet significant in terms of volume but are a concern regarding safety.

On e-scooters

One of the so-called new mobility modes is the e-scooter. It is categorized as a micro mobility mode and in appearance is no different from a kick scooter with the difference lies in the former being motorized. Not all are powered by electric motors as I’ve seen ones that are gas-powered (small internal combustion engines). The latter are noisy and have emissions but seem to be more powerful especially when encountering inclined road sections (e.g., going up to Ortigas Center from C5, going up to Antipolo). Some seem to be customized for more power as I’ve seen motorcycle shops doing what looks like modifications and not just repairs.

A typical e-scooter

I’m sharing an article below about e-scooters and their involvement in road crashes in Europe:

Meaker, M. (December 7, 2021) “E-scooters are everywhere in Europe. So are grisly accidents,” Wired, https://www.wired.com/story/escooters-accidents-europe/?bxid=5bd6761b3f92a41245dde413&cndid=37243643&esrc=AUTO_OTHER&source=EDT_WIR_NEWSLETTER_0_DAILY_ZZ&utm_brand=wired&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_content=WIR_Daily_120721&utm_mailing=WIR_Daily_120721&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nl&utm_term=P4 [Last accessed: 12/9/2021]

I think the proverbial jury is still out there in as far as these vehicles are concerned. Safety-wise, there should be concern if users speed up and zig-zag through traffic. These are the same concerns in the European cities mentioned in the article. Personally, I don’t see these vehicles gaining as much popularity for typical commutes compared to the bicycle, which has seen a surge in use during this pandemic and with bike lanes (pop-up and permanent) in place in many areas. These same bike lanes are now also being shared by these e-scooters. I think more people will opt for the motorcycle, which comes in different sizes and engines, and which provides more in terms of versatility of use. But again, there are risks involved here and perhaps some e-scooter users are mimicking the undesirable, risky motorcycle rider behavior. Are they e-scooter users to be regarded and treated as drivers or riders considering they are using motorized vehicles? Perhaps the government should be working on this and other relevant, current policy (if not regulations) to e-scooter use.