Updated: Jun 22
In 2018 and 2019, e-scooters swept cities across the globe. What began as an oddity quickly shifted into explosive growth as they began growing in popularity. It’s no longer a novel experience to hop on an e-scooter or see residents around your city taking a ride themselves. What made this mode of transportation spring into relevancy so quickly? As the way we get around is rapidly changing through the process of experiments and fun new ideas, here are a few things that I believe e-scooters have brought to the table that may be insightful not only for e-scooters but micro-mobility in general.
The scooter has been around for decades while undergoing major upgrades since its inception in 1817 in Germany. As time passed, they became trendy on and off while being challenged by skateboards, rollerskates, and other inexpensive options for transportation. In the early 2000s, the highly anticipated Segway electric scooter was launched but failed to gain traction due to the fact that it was not only significantly heavier than traditional scooters (100 lbs compared to 10-27 lbs) but significantly costlier. At a whopping $5000, consumers could pay that amount for a decent used car.
Fast forward to today, and e-scooters have continued to evolve and adapt in ways that have inched them back towards a growing table of viable commute options. They’re small enough to take to many areas, they’re relatively inexpensive, and they’re significantly easier to learn and use than skateboards and rollerskates. For these reasons alone, it’s easy to see why a portion of city residents have adapted the “scooter-commuter” method from time to time.
A nuisance for thieves
While there is no silver bullet for deterring theft, there are many relatively easy solutions to prevent e-scooters from ending up in a stranger’s possession and maintaining the long term sustainability of e-scooters as a whole. E-scooters are easier to keep out of sight due to their size and possible foldability, depending on the model.
Companies are also implementing their own anti-theft measures. Some companies require users to use a cable lock once the ride is over, while others have locks controlled through an app, GPS tracking, require photos as proof that the e-scooter was properly parked, or have warnings that the authorities will be alerted if an app wasn’t used to unlock the e-scooter.
Most scooter-share systems are inexpensive anyway, so as a result, it may make less sense for somebody to steal a scooter when they can just start a quick rental. In a world where convenience is king, there’s nothing more convenient than finding a scooter readily on the sidewalk and beginning a rental in a matter of minutes.
A cherry on top for public transportation