There’s been a surprising upsurge in the use of the e-scooter across the globe. In the United States, thanks to companies such as Bird and Lime, e-scooters are already operating in dozens of cities. The US is not alone in this trend. E-scooters have made surprise debuts on the streets of European and Middle Eastern cities too. London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Berlin and Frankfurt, all have e-scooters.
E-scooters seem to be growing in number at a surprising rate. Their unexpected descend has been met by a myriad of reactions. Some people are intrigued by the new device that aids a cheap and effortless commute. Others, however, are not only infuriated by their presence but want them outlawed. The unimpressed group of people, a mixture of pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists find scooters troublesome and dangerous.
Are electric scooters, devices inspired by the Segway, here to stay? Will they lose popularity due to social reasons, or due to public safety concerns? Will they replace ride share services and become people’s convenient transportation? Here are the pros and cons of having these scooters around.
E-scooters are cheap
E-scooters are very economical and this makes them accessible to a wide group of individuals. They cost as little as 1$ per minute. Since they can travel up to 15mph, the user can get pretty far and won’t end up paying much for using it.
E-scooters are fun and easy to use
A good number of users find e-scooters fun to use, especially the millennial generation that grew up pushing the non-motorized versions around their cul-de-sac. Given the fact that such scooters rely on electricity to move, using them requires little amount of effort. With a scooter, you can easily weave through traffic and use shortcuts for a faster commute.
Additionally, after an individual uses it, he or she can drop it off anywhere.
E-scooters are environmentally friendly
As the name implies, e-scooters rely on electricity. Therefore, they aren’t emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that pollute the environment like traditional gas powered cars. Using them produces a lower carbon footprint and improves air quality.
Photo credit: Amanda McCadams
E-scooters have safety issues
On the opposite side of the spectrum are health and safety concerns. Several deaths have been linked to e-scooter crashes and countless incidents of people being hospitalized. These injuries often range from mild to serious concussions, face lacerations and a few broken bones. It’s important to note that in most cases the users weren’t wearing the recommended protective gear. E-scooters not only pose a threat to the e-scooter riders, but to the non-riders as well. Bicyclist and pedestrians find it hard to navigate through traffic and the streets with e-scooters weaving about and there have been reports of e-scooters crashing into pedestrians.
E-scooters clutter sidewalks and pathways
Since e-scooters can be left literally anywhere, they are quickly cluttering city streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and urban landscaping. People don’t even realize that they are visually polluting the environment. Moreover, e-scooters just left anywhere sometimes block sidewalks meant for pedestrians. It might not be a big deal to just step over an e-scooter but for people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility it is a much bigger problem.
Short Battery Life
A fully charged e-scooter can go about 10 miles. That battery might run out before you reach your destination. If there are no other scooters around when that happens, you will have to walk the rest of the way or hire a taxi.
What’s next for e-scooters?
Some cities and municipalities are trying to figure out the best way to handle the popularity of these little zip-arounds. They solve a lot of problems but they also bring a handful of new ones. Time will tell what solution is best.