Despite their impressive tech specs and modern look, electric scooters aren’t exactly new. In fact, electric scooters have been around for such a long time that the exact date they were invented isn’t known. However, we do know that Ogden Bolton modified an existing version of an electric scooter as early as 1895.
So if these two-wheeled vehicles are quick, efficient, and eco-friendly, why has it taken a pandemic for people to realise they are a great mode of transport for commuting to work?
Some may argue this delay is largely the result of how our roads are currently designed, especially in regards to the dominance of cars. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments to rethink their city’s infrastructure to better accommodate alternative modes of transport.
Cities are now redesigning their roads to provide pedestrians, bicycles and electric vehicles with more room so people can be socially distanced from one another on their daily commute.
What are the benefits of an electric scooter?
Not only can e-scooters avoid traffic congestion, but they’re an eco-friendlier mode of transport that allows riders to zip around the city efficiently. And when you get to work, the scooter can be folded up and stored under a desk or stood against a wall for convenience.
Electric scooters are also a much cheaper alternative to driving a car because there’s no petrol, parking fees, tolls or annual permits to pay for. These easy-to-charge scooters can also be charged while you’re at work or overnight so they are ready to go when you need them.
With many cities adopting wider bike paths and footpaths to allow people to stay apart, electric scooters are perfect for our new post-pandemic world. They present so much value that some cities are now making an effort to remove car parks in order to make extra room for storage of both regular or electric bikes and scooters.
Why are electric scooters good for social distancing?
Whether millions of people return to public transport networks when the lockdown ends is questionable. People who catch trains, buses, and trams to work during rush hour are often in a small, cramped environment which is off-putting for people who are worried for their health.
This concern is not necessarily unwarranted with New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) taking a huge hit during the pandemic. There’s been approximately a 90 per cent drop in ridership and nearly 100 workers killed by the virus. These figures make public transport safety a major concern for big cities around the world, and are why governments and individuals are turning towards electric scooters.
In a time where sharing isn’t caring, having your own electric scooter is a great way to keep socially distant. As long as you aren’t riding close to other people, the chances of you getting sick are much lower than if you are in a confined space on public transport with other people.
How are cities changing to adopt new modes of transport?
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, governments around the world are urging citizens to walk, cycle and take alternate transport to ease public transport strain during peak hour.
For example, the Italian government has included a 200 euro bonus in an upcoming stimulus package for anyone wanting to buy a bike or electric scooter to stop overcrowding on buses and trains. The UK government is also fast-tracking e-scooter rental schemes, and New York has legalised electric scooters and bikes so individuals can get around faster.
Whether cities stay like this in the long-term is unclear and only time will tell. However, the world is changing at rapid speed due to the coronavirus crisis, and although there are more negatives than positives, hopefully electric scooters can play a part in reducing transmission of the virus and ease public transport networks as people start to return to work.