Scooters are everywhere these days. They have always adorned the school parking lot with almost every child i know owning one, but now the scooter is also becoming a chosen mode of transport for adults too!
These are run by e-scooter companies such as Bird, Lime, Spin, Uber’s JUMP, Lyft and others are all trying to own the first and the last mile. From someone's house to a tube station for example and then from the tube station to the office or work place.
Dockless scooters were hailed as a bit solution to the environmental crisis we have seen in highly populated urban settings. However there have been studies about the real impact. Verge states that "The study’s conclusions were equal parts obvious and surprising. Driving a car was the least environmentally friendly option, but using the bus — especially a diesel-powered one along a highly trafficked route — was a better option than riding an e-scooter. Walking and riding a bike, or even an e-bike, were also vastly superior to using an e-scooter."
So before going out to buy an e-scooter or support the industry, think twice, maybe buying a regular scooter or catching the bus is more environmentally friendly.
There are a range of companies that offer scooters docked to a 'home' that you can hire by the hour. European company Bolt have their scooters docked to a charging station. Their website lay out the rules and recommendations for riding a scooter. Bolt have even added a 'food' tab to their website/ app where you can order food similar to that of Uber eats etc where your food is delivered by scooter. Having spent a bit of time researching you realise that these e-scooter companies are absolutely massive and growing every day.
The flip side of the e-scooter craze is that they can easily become dumped on the roadside and left for dead and uncared for. The uk has banned docked scooter companies and many people think that this is a positive move.
Kids kick scooters
Kids scooters are the most eco friendly and they also encourage kids to seek out a healthy lifestyle. The leader of this market is probably Micro Scooters, this brand both my kids have used since a very young age.
Adult kick scooters
Adult scooters (also known as adult kick scooters) have allow adults to chase their kids to school, also they can break up part of the commute. These ones are not electric necessarily so they are much easier to maintain. There are companies like Op Scooters that allow you to compare different models.
This one above is SwiftyOne MK3 adult folding scooter. It is human powered and designed for speed and comfort with its pneumatic wheels and slim profile. This one is definitely the Rolls Royce of the scooter world.
Privately owned e-scooters
In the UK privately-owned e-scooters or other powered transporters are not legal to use on public roads. You can be liable for a ticket and have to be over 18 years of age. There is more info HERE on the rules and penalties of riding privately owned e-scooters in the UK. The rules are different in different countries.
There is a bit of a grey area involved with e-scooter law in the UK. Many shops such as Halfords sell them but technically you are not allowed to used them on public roads or pavements. See this image on the ecommerce website of halfords below - with the warning on the right.
As from the Halfords website "Electric scooter rental trials have been underway in a number of areas across the UK since summer 2020. Local councils have been working with rental providers to test the viability of electric scooters as a safe and effective mode of transport.
The trial period has been extended until the end of November 2022 so that the most comprehensive evidence possible can be gathered. The government is then likely to launch another consultation phase before any official changes to the law are proposed."
So right now you are allowed to buy one but electric scooters can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. It is effectively illegal to use them on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas.
Here is a great article in the Guardian showing how some people feel that e-scooters have 'ruined Paris'.There are serious safety issues, insurance issues and also sustainabiity issues to contend with, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is after the consultation phase.