E-scooters may be safer for cities

More good news for proponents of e-scooter legalisation

Despite the media furore of late scrutinising the safety credentials of electric scooter transportation in our major cities, a new report conducted by the  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that electric scooters (and other electric-powered vehicles) could be the key to safer cities.

The OECD (an international, inter-governmental body to stimulate trade and economic progress) concluded that a trip by car or motorbike is "much more likely" to result in the death of the driver and/or pedestrian when compared to a trip using a Personal Electric Transportation Vehicle (PETV - yes, we love an acronym here), which includes e-scooters.

Electric Scooter Rider

The same report goes on to say that e-scooters are no more dangerous to their riders than the ubiquitous bicycle after it found that “A road fatality is not significantly more likely when using a shared standing e-scooter rather than a bicycle”, based on a research workshop of 40 participants from 15 countries around the world, concluding that “The risk of an emergency department visit for an e-scooter rider is similar to that for cyclists”.

This will be welcome news to the advocates amongst us following our article from January 2020 highlighting the UK government's consultation into the legalisation of electric scooters, currently progressing in earnest. 

Governing for rapid change

National governments will certainly have their work cut out for them as archaic legislation is tested and to breaking point trying to keep up with the rate of change in the PETV landscape.

The same OECD report states that “considerable regulatory challenges exist” and advises that “protected space” should be allocated through measures such as traffic calming or dedicated lanes (or perhaps shared cycle lane use) and suggested prohibiting the use of e-scooters on pavements.

The manufacturer's role

While we note that the government has a lot of work ahead to prepare for the inevitable, we are noticing manufacturer's (including some of our own suppliers) evolve their product lines to conform to rules and regulations they've experienced in other nations, such as Egret's efforts to establish 100% road-legal electric scooters in Germany, through the use of affixed number plates, front & rear brakes and speed-limiting their range to 20 km/h.

Time will tell how smoothly government legislation and e-scooter specifications will converge, but one thing is for certain; it will happen at pace.