If you live in any of the major cities of the world, you can’t escape the increased presence of electric scooters. Whether cruising down sidewalks or parked near local restaurants, you are sure to see even more of them as electric scooter companies look to get a slice of the rideshare economy.
There are several things contributing to the popularity of electric scooters, but the primary one seems to be the need to save money on transport. Electric scooters are as good or better than cars for inner-city travel and they are faster and more efficient than bikes. They are also energy efficient and don’t make as much of a dent on the environment as other common means of transportation.
It is pretty clear that electric scooters are here to stay, so let’s begin by going deeper into why they are so popular.
Why are electric scooters so popular?
Electric scooters have grown in popularity because, just like bicycles, they offer a convenient means of getting from point A to point B. Also, they are very portable, making them the ideal tool for the last-mile commute.
In dense areas, cars are not always the fastest means of transportation. Drivers are turning increasingly to e-scooters for their commutes, as they help them avoid the loss of time from being stuck in traffic. And so are people that don’t drive since many kinds of scooters don’t require a license. Electric scooters are also an excellent option for recreation, especially in cities with scenic destinations not far from the city center.
Could e-scooters be dangerous for riders and pedestrians?
Electric scooters can pose a danger to users, and some of the most common injuries to users are head injuries, a number of which have been categorized as severe head injuries. According to research done by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open (JAMA). About 250 persons in the city of Los Angeles were sent to the emergency room between September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018. At that same time, 100 persons were reported to have sustained injuries while riding bicycles, 150 less than on e-scooters.
In response to the dangers that come with the use of electric scooters, companies like Lime, Spin, and Bird are implementing comprehensive safety programs on their rideshare services to keep customers safe while operating a scooter.
What does the future hold for electric scooters?
It goes without saying that the growth in the use of electric scooters has been massive, but there are several questions around their future.
Companies like Lime and Bird have faced and continue to face obstacles on their path to becoming viable businesses. They will need to find a way to increase revenue while absorbing the costs that come with maintaining their scooters and charging stations.
Customer loyalty or popularity plays a major role in the viability of electric scooter rideshare services, just as is seen with Uber and Lyft. Some people prefer Bird while others Lime, and, depending on the market, there could be as many as half a dozen options slicing up that pie. Since there’s no clear winner, profit margins will remain low. For now, it’s very much a marketing game and we’re likely to see a lot more consolidation before things settle down.
Finally, policymakers will need to balance the need for public safety with accessibility options for residents as has been seen with other emerging technologies.