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We were over the moon when the UK government announced back in July this year that the rental of electric scooters will become legal on our roads. It’s a great decision to help reduce the pressure on our public transport network around the country and we think it’s a positive move during these challenging times of corona virus and the need for social distancing while travelling. The schemes will run for 12 months and we are convinced results will prove these micro mobiles are the perfect solution for easing urban congestion and reducing air pollution.
The UK is already behind the times with rental scooter schemes having already proved successful in many other countries. Fredrik Hjelm, Chief Executive of Swedish electric rental company Voi says, “we have already demonstrated across Europe that we can help replace short car journeys of one to three miles with e-scooter trips”.
So, while we are delighted the government has hopped on board the electric scooter revolution, we’re equally disappointed privately-owned scooters have not been included in the trials.
Whilst it’s a good move actioning the rental schemes, we have to consider the quality and safety standards of the scooters being used in the schemes and more importantly the proficiency of the riders who hire them. And while rental schemes are very popular, we still believe owing an electric scooter is best practice.
During these challenging times, hire companies are taking measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Scooter-sharing firms Spin and Bird have both implemented systems where their e-scooters are disinfected when they are collected up for charging. And Bird, which has been operating on London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic park since 2018, also said it has street teams that clean scooters in the street. We’d always suggest you wipe down handlebars and grips, wear gloves and wash your hands as soon as you’ve deposited the scooter. Which is all well and good, but not as straight forward as simply owning your own scooter and certainly more hassle.
Then there’s the question of, ‘Who has last used the scooter? Did they ride it carefully, avoiding bumps and jumps or riding through large puddles’? And what about the person before them? In fact, how safe is the scooter you’re about to hire? You simply don’t know, is the answer. And while the hire companies are maintaining their scooters, the only way to really have confidence in the scooter you’re riding and know where it’s been and how it’s been treated, is by owning it. There are many electric scooters out there of premium quality and if looked after, can be a long-term solution to economical and sustainable, urban mobility.
If people own scooters rather than renting them, they will tend to care for them and use them responsibly. Riding an electric scooter is intuitive. When you own an electric scooter, you can familiarise yourself with it, testing how it handles and how the brakes and safety features work.
Rental electric scooters are a good solution to helping reduce traffic congestion and making for a cleaner environment. However, some organisations like RNIB have expressed concern about where scooters will be left when not in use and some others see them as another problem on the pavement, another obstacle to trip over when left lying in wait of its next rider. But if you own a scooter, you’ll want to take it with you. And because many are foldable, compact and lightweight, you can carry them into the office, up those stairs, onto the bus or train or even in the back of a cab or boot of your car with ease.
The growing popularity of electric scooters along with the pressure on the UK government to find alternative modes of eco-friendly transport can only mean the future is looking rosy for electric scooters. And while hiring one can be highly convenient, we still believe owning an electric scooter is the much safer and economical option. There might be the initial cost to buy a quality scooter but guaranteed, it won’t take long before you start seeing a great return on your investment and a smile on your face.