What You Need to Know About the Electric Scooters on the Sidewalk

Electric scooters seem to be everywhere these days. Not only are they ubiquitous in many metro areas, but stories about them are plastered all over the news and social media. Some pitfalls of the scooter craze can be avoided by understanding some basic information about them.

How it Works

Electric scooters are offered under a ride-share model through companies like Bird and Lime which place a large number of scooters in an urban area. An app will guide users to the nearest scooter, allowing them to be “dockless.” Some cities have created pilot programs to test public scooters. Others have refrained from heavy regulation while they monitor the usage, accident rates, and places. Usually, there will be a fee to unlock the scooter, and then a distance rate which will charge riders based on how far the scooter is taken. Note that different scooter companies may have different pricing, which should be given in the app.

Is it Safe?

Many of the concerns around scooters ultimately revolve around safety. Scooters really are as safe as any motorized vehicle, with much of the safety reliant on the specific user. The biggest risk factor is simply not wearing a helmet. Other safety tips are to know if you should be riding on the street versus pedestrian paths, to maintain a safe speed and always be alert for dangers like potholes, curbs, pedestrians or other motor vehicles. Also keep in mind that these scooters are generally not appropriate for children, and it may be illegal in some locations to ride if under the age of 18.

Learn the Etiquette

Common-sense etiquette can go a long way toward ensuring safe and happy riding. Riders should be mindful of where they leave the scooter when finished. Storing them off of sidewalks and where people will not trip over them is a good idea. Be especially mindful of blocking handicap accessible areas and entrances. When riding, maintain safe speeds and be aware of pedestrians, giving them plenty of space. Ride only where permitted by local law.

Best Uses for Electric Scooters

Scooters are much faster than walking, and often cheaper than vehicle transport. They represent a middle ground in urban transportation that is optimal for many people in many circumstances. For an urban resident where the scooters proliferate, they could potentially replace a traditional vehicle entirely. For commuters, they could represent a better option for “last mile” transportation, where you park in a designated parking area, then use a scooter to get to your destination. They are also a good option for people looking to be more environmentally conscious. For tourists, shoppers and others who may not live in the area, they represent a fun option to get around town without needing a taxi-style service.

Electric scooters are a booming business. While many aspects of it, such as pricing, laws, and regulations remain in flux, scooters seem to be a reliable and interesting mode of transportation. Just make sure that you are exhibiting best safety practices, including wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, understanding local scooter regulations and everything else that goes along with the increasingly popular scooter trend.

Here’s another article you might enjoy: Are Driverless Cars Really the Future?

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