With many cities attempting to bring in a greener sense of living, companies have created electric scooters as a means to replace cars that run on fossil fuels. These scooters emit fewer greenhouse gases and don’t run on gasoline. Because city inhabitants don’t necessarily need a car to drive down a few blocks, the electric scooter could prove to be a successful means of yet more environmentally-friendly practices. However, there are a few issues that the electric scooter is facing in some cities. Here are five of them.
1. Clogged Sidewalks
In many cities, it’s against the law-or regulations-to ride on the sidewalk. The scooter is wider than a bike and can typically go faster than someone is pedaling normally. As such, it can present quite a dangerous problem for those who are using the sidewalk as a pedestrian. A fast-riding scooterist could zip by and if not hit someone, at the very least, they could run over a few toes. One of the perks that many scooterists enjoy in riding an electric scooter is the easy maneuverability. They don’t take up as much space as a car, so during the inevitable standstill of traffic, they can zip between cars or ride up on the sidewalk to bypass the traffic. This is dangerous for numerous reasons.
If the potential for accidents both to the scooterist and to pedestrians isn’t enough, with scooterists consistently taking to the sidewalks, you can expect traffic on those sidewalks to clog. There simply isn’t enough room for a scooter to make its way through when the sidewalk is already clogged with foot traffic. Yet, that doesn’t seem to stop scooterists, especially in California. Currently, scooters are not allowed on sidewalks in the Golden State. The LA Times describes how badly people want to keep scooters off of sidewalks and at the same time Bird is working towards making it legal to ride scooters on sidewalks.
2. Energy Consumption
Many focus on the fact that electric scooters are excellent for the environment. In many aspects, they are. However, because the United States hasn’t completely turned over to renewable sources of energy, the electricity that they’re using to charge their batteries typically still comes from a fossil fuel. With more and more electric scooters being used, that’s a lot of energy consumption. So, is it really helping the environment after all?
In time, once cities fully move their grid to renewable resources like solar, wind, or any future technologies, the electric scooter will be able to say it is an environmentally friendly method of transportation. Until then, however, it is merely utilizing a different fossil fuel resource for its charge.
Much like motorcycles and bicycles, some scooterists are required to wear helmets when they ride. However, the number of those who actually do wear a helmet are slim. This is especially true of those who dwell in the city and want to go for a quick ride down a few blocks but don’t wish to carry a helmet with them. Unfortunately, even a small jaunt can be long enough for an accident to occur.
Because scooterists tend to take risks to further their travel along at a faster pace, they put themselves at a higher chance of risk. Accidents occur. As small as the scooter is, it doesn’t stand a chance against a car. Because of this, lots of scooterists are being injured. In cases where they strike a pedestrian, the pedestrian is either killed or severely injured. Helmets are necessary and vital to safety, but electric scooterists don’t seem to be receiving the message.
4. Scooter Sharing
Perhaps the most popular trend for scooters is in the rapidly evolving use known as scooter sharing. For a certain fee, anyone with a driver’s license can rent the scooter and use it for as long–or as little–as they need. However, the companies haven’t found a way to properly regulate their services just yet. As such, people are leaving scooters wherever they like. Much like bike sharing, this means there are at times ugly piles of scooters clogging up sidewalks or alleys.
In some cases, people who wish to use the service can’t find a scooter at all because people are storing them away, so they can use them personally at a later time. Essentially, there’s hardly any regulation at all in the scooter sharing service, and as a result, it’s leaving people frustrated with the mess.
5. Lack Of Enforcement
Perhaps the biggest problem with electric scooters is the overall lack of enforcement. Touched on before, the preference to ride without helmets is just one small aspect of this problem. While you are supposed to ride with a driver’s license, many do not. While you are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk, many do. The regulation and enforcement of these rules are unclear.
Does it fall under private or public enforcement? Without clear answers, these problems will continue and violators will continuously fall through the cracks. In some cities the scooters have been welcomed and in other cities, like LA, people are lighting them on fire.