Bikes are out and scooters are in. At least that’s the case for ride-share companies in North Carolina cities such as Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem. Over the last year, companies have phased out their bicycles with electric scooters.
It seems as though people prefer e-scooters to bikes. The have surged in popularity with three to four times as many rides as compared to bikes. Two reasons that I see are the relative increased speed and less work (no pedaling). Most cities have limited their speed to 20 mph but that’s faster than walking or bicycling. Plus you can get to work, school, or wherever you want to be, without breaking a sweat.
It’s a fairly simple process. First you download the company’s app you are interested in renting from onto your phone. Then, use the company’s app to find and unlock an e-scooter located near you. Ride to your destination. Park and relock the e-scooter anywhere that’s convenient for you when you finish your ride, any street, parking lot, or driveway is fine.
Compared to taxis, parking fees, public transit, and other sharing programs, e-scooters are cheap. It costs $1 to unlock the e-scooter and 15 cents per minute of ride time.
Just like bike sharing, scooter sharing is primarily for commuting short distances, not recreation or long trips. The charge on an e-scooter lasts about one hour, so given the allowed mph, that’s a distance of 20 miles. People use electric scooters as a means of their daily commute to work or to run small errands in the area.
Company mangers keep track of where the scooters are by way of GPS. At night, employees collect the scooters, recharge them, and redistribute them across the city before morning.
Whether electric scooters are safe or not is a debate. It is important to keep in mind that nothing is entirely safe. And like any other moving vehicle, they are only as safe as the person driving them. State law requires a person to be 18 years old and with a valid driver’s license in order to operate an e-scooter.
in order to operate an e-scooter.
Not everyone is sold on this means of transportation. Pedestrians don’t like sharing the sidewalk, and car and truck drivers don’t like sharing the road. But for now, e-scooters are a growing reality and urban planners need to do what they are paid to do, or in other words, plan for the presence of e-scooters in their cities.
If you haven’t tried an e-scooter, you should. They are a fun and quick way to get around town.