Warnings of the dangers of scooters is ongoing. It is a combination of poor product quality, pilot errors and the unfavourable environment in which they operate.
The conclusion of one scooter test confirms what has been found by others before it.
“If you really want to invest in a mobility solution, we recommend buying a bicycle or a folding bike.””Concern rising over electric scooter problems | Newsroom | Bicycle Network, accessed 24 March 2021
It was not just anybody doing the testing.
“When a consumer association in Europe set out to road-test the leading electric scooter brands and report the best choice back to its members, it’s recommendation came as a shock. There was no best. They were all bad. Instead, they recommended people by a bike instead!”Concern rising over electric scooter problems | Newsroom | Bicycle Network, accessed 24 March 2021
Multiple tests on scooters point to reoccurring issues of scooter safety. This is manifesting itself in injuries to the riders.
“In a related development a research team at Henry Ford Health System in Michigan has raised concern over the high rate of head and neck injuries that are resulting from e-scooters.”
“The study says the e-scooter accidents involved cars and ground obstacles such as curbs, poles and manhole covers. Other factors that led to accidents include mechanical problems such as failing brakes and wheels. Distracted riders were also a factor.” “
“The study’s break down on the type of injuries shows that head and neck injuries made up nearly 28% of the total injuries. Results were also broken down by age groups and showed that from 2009 to 2017, patients who were 17 years old or younger made up the most injured age group. After 2017, the demographic of 18-to-44-year-olds became the most injured age group.”Concern rising over electric scooter problems | Newsroom | Bicycle Network, accessed 24 March 2021
What is to be done
The injuries could be reduced if we addressed the cause. The table below cannot hope to be complete, but there is much that could be done to make them safer. Scooter riders are vulnerable road users.
|Cause||Mitigation of risk|
|the environment in which the operate||– better infrastructure with safer, smoother and better maintain paths|
– separate paths from the road as the user are vulnerable
|rider safety||– riders need to wear helmets|
– riding while drunk or under the influence of drugs is unsafe
|scooter standards||– lights, good wet weather brakes and bells could be mandated|
– quality standards, parts and warantees that force manufactures sell good products
After all of this, there will be reasons to bike a bike. Big wheels roll much better over bumps. The design of a bike is much more stable than a scooter. Bicycles are so successful due to their remarkable effectiveness and benefits. It is a winning formula for active travel.
Hire scooter companies run a fleet of scooters, so they are much more concerned about the durability of the product. They operate a business, so safety is important. In the ACT, they are government regulated. This guarantees that the scooter confirm to some minimum standard.
It would be an error to compare the scooters of the hire companies with the discounted and cheap scooters offer for sale around Christmas. Unfortunately, there are no quality standards for what can be sold in Australia.