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Popularity Tempered by Regulation: A Look at the Electric Scooter Ban

electric scooter ban, man in gray shirt using a scooter with the word ban on the background

As evidenced by the success of companies such as Lime and Bird, the popularity of electric scooters is on the rise. In the two years since their inception, Lime has earned a valuation of $1.1 billion, while Bird is valued at a whopping $2 billion. It’s predicted that by 2020, the bike rental market will reach $6 billion. But tempering the popularity of electric scooters is a sizeable amount of apprehension, plus a healthy dose of illegality. For while cities like Santa Monica, CA, and Seattle, WA, have embraced the newfangled form of transport, others have outright banned them. Why would anyone enact an electric scooter ban?

Given their eco-friendliness, it seems counterintuitive that such a mode of transport would face regulatory resistance. There’s more emphasis than ever on how we can change our habits to treat the environment better. One of the most detrimental ways we’re damaging the planet is through car emissions and harmful fumes. But electric scooters are an excellent, non-polluting way to get around. So, why do certain municipalities hate them?

The Risk of Using Electric Scooters

Though riding around on scooters is eco-friendly, there is a health risk that comes with using electric scooters. This is according to the powers that be in New York City, Hollywood, CA, and France. Sure, there have been notable injuries from electric scooters. It’s been reported that more than 1,500 people have been treated for injuries after colliding with or riding electric powered scooters in the United States since 2017.

So, there is undeniably a risk of injury when hopping on board a scooter on the way to work. However, is the risk as severe and as likely as getting hit by a car? Arguably not.

Electric Scooter Laws in Action

Spin is another company that’s the product of app developers offering bike-sharing in cities and on-campus largely operating in the US. However, they may find their customer base slowly dwindling as the electric scooter ban come into place in the next year or so. New York is among the states banning electric scooters. Many of these cities are waiting for the government to get together a comprehensive plan for scooter use in the area. This would determine how many companies could operate in each area, and how many scooters would be allowed. There are concerns about the enforcement of the plan if it ever does come into play.

There is an estimate of around 15,000 scooters that have made their way onto the streets of Paris since last year, with numbers predicted to rise to 40,000 by the end of the year. They have, however, taken a different approach to electric scooters. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has announced measures to protect pedestrians, as pavements are for those walking only.

Is There Room for Negotiation?

Instead of banning scooters completely, the French government has banned people from riding them on pavements starting in September. After that, there will be a fine of €135 for those found riding electric scooters on the pavement.

It’s true that most municipalities do not have enough control of scooters. This is one of the reasons for the electric scooter ban in certain areas.  If governments were able to regulate the use of electric scooters, there could be more flexibility in using them. Perhaps the likes of Bird, Spin and Lime could benefit from opening up negotiations with the local councils in areas that have implemented bans.

Furthermore, as the concerns from the government are largely surrounding the safety of pedestrians, electronic scooter businesses may begin researching ways to make it safer. They’re likely to invest in safety solutions that might help them transform into viable transport options. Therefore, there’s no need to rule out electronic scooters being a regular sight on our streets just yet.

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