As the idea of smart mobility continues to evolve, the still relatively new world of electric scooters is poised to undergo some radical shifts. Ride zeroes in on five things we think are poised to have the most profound impact on e-scooter services in the years to come — both good and bad.
1. City Restrictions
There’s probably nothing poised to have a greater impact on electric scooter services than the growing number of restrictions that local municipalities and business have started placing on e-scooters companies, dictating where and how they can operate the devices.
Unlike a few years ago, when it seemed like e-scooters were popping everywhere in cities, the regulations now being placed on the devices are much stiffer. According to The Local It, Italy recently started dishing out fines totaling more than $1,000 (USD) for what local officials deem as electric scooter infraction. Singapore recently joined France in banning e-scooters on sidewalks, and a growing number of municipalities in the U.S. have been considering enacting similar measures.
2. Growing Competition
Nothing has the potential of impacting an industry like competition, especially when it comes to new technology. For the past few years, the e-scooter world has been pretty much dominated by the companies like and Lime, Bird and Spin. But a number of new startups are vying to enter the market with their own spins on the concept.
OJO Scooters, which aims to elevate the e-scooter experience with a cushioned seat, is in the process of rolling out a grand total of 1,250 scooters, including 500 in Austin, 500 in Dallas and 250 in Memphis, Tennessee, as detailed in a recent Yahoo Finance report.
Boaz Bikes, another shared scooter service, which features seats on their devices, is beginning to roll out in cities across the U.S. as well. There is also growing speculation that more carmakers will look to enter the segment, following in the footsteps of Ford Motor Co., which now owns the electric scooter, Spin.
The concerns with the safety of electric scooters have had a significant impact on the wider adoption of the technology. (Photo: Getty Images)
3. General Safety Concerns
Despite some of the strides being made to make electric scooters safer for riders and pedestrians, the devices still poise a number of safety concerns, yet to be addressed.
A lot of the stipulations being enacted by local municipalities are aimed at addressing some of those concerns. But there’s still considerable work that needs to be done in this area, to make electric scooters safer for riders and non-riders in the growing number of cities where they are used. In fact, a recent investigation by Consumer Reports, found that at least 1,500 riders have been injured on e-scooters since the devices were introduced in 2017. A total of eight deaths have been tied to electric scooters, according to the CR report.
4. Smarter Tech
Over the past few months, there’s been a number of companies and initiatives launched, aimed at enhancing the technology that drives electric scooters. The new tech company, Tortoise, which was covered here at Ride, is working on technology that would enable e-scooters to be repositioned remotely.
Companies like Lime and Bird have also been working on a slew of new tech enhancements for their next-generation of electric scooters, spanning new mapping capabilities to improved braking systems.
Electric scooters can become a blight in some situations. (Photo: Getty Images)
5. Community Concerns
Though they’re often lumped into the same concerns as those shared by local municipalities, community concerns with electric scooters is a power, all to its own, poised to impact electric scooter usage in more unique ways.
Take, for example, the recent lawsuit filed by against the city of Minneapolis and Bird and Lime over claims that electric scooters violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, by making it unsafe for people with impaired mobilities, as detailed in a Governing.com report.
In contrast, Equiticity, a mobility justice group in Chicago, has become a pivotal voice in the efforts to expand e-scooter services in the Windy City. The advocacy group asserts that the devices play a critical role in helping to enhance the quality of life for the city’s minority populations, as highlighted in a Streets Blog Chicago report.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Airing the discussion of both the pros and cons of electric scooter services can be hugely beneficial in helping to advance the technology overall and in addressing concerns with the devices.