Are Electric Scooters Worth the Hype?
Electric scooters have been all the rage lately as a useful and quick transportation option, but do they really live up to the hype? Read more to find out if an electric scooter would be a viable option for you!
We're all constantly on the lookout for a transport option that saves us time in traffic. Most of us would like to help the environment while we're at it.
If you're anything like us, you'd prefer not to arrive at work sweaty and windblown from cycling your way there.
So what's left? Enter electric scooters. Some say they are ugly, geeky, and even silly. But there seems to be no stop to their growing popularity.
So there must be something to them. Read our analysis on whether it's an option that could work for you.
Are e-scooters truly worth the hype? Let's see.
The Evolution of Electric Scooters
Remember the Razor scooters of the early noughties? Add a powerful little battery-powered engine.
And you've got it: the electric scooter taking our cities by storm.
They were modeled on the kid kick-scooters of old.
The experience atop an electric scooter is probably most like riding a Segway in terms of effort. Some compare them to commuting on a moving walkway.
They are a unique mode of transportation, taking a bit of the best of moving by car bike and on foot. They are engine-powered like a car and escape the traffic like a bike. Like walking, you can arrive to work without a seat and enjoy the open air.
The electric scooter incorporates a lot of new technology into an older product to create something new and convenient. It uses GPS chips, electric batteries, and cell networks.
The Sound of Progress
The beauty of the evolution of an electric powered engine has a couple of advantages.
Firstly, its better for the environment. No more gas fume exhaust.
But best of all is the sound. Or, more to the point - the lack of it. The electric powered scooter has a gentle hum instead of a chattering gas engine clunk.
Who Is Using Them?
Users of e-scooters are a pretty diverse bunch. There are some great reasons why people are jumping on this two-wheeled bandwagon. Many cities offer great transport options. But they are often unconnected - getting from the subway to the bus is a long distance.
The electric scooter is great in these moments. They connect between transport options, weaving networks together like some sort of spiderweb.
And there's no worry about finding a park or returning to where you left it - like a personal bike - to get home.
This solves an issue for city planners. Because the initial and final parts of a commuters journey are the trickiest.
People will often drive to their nearest train stop. Scooters are a lower emission solution to using a car to get to transit.
What Are the Drawbacks?
As with anything, there are some drawbacks.
Even their biggest fans say they're mostly ugly. Well, the scooter-scheme ones in big cities anyway. We'll talk more about better designs if you buy your own later.
Street litter of scheme electric scooters has been a big issue. City authorities are now stamping down.
How Do They Stack up to Urban Bikes?
We love our urban bikes.
But we don't love what they do to our fresh office look. you know how it goes - you leave home crisp, ironed, smelling good. Nicely made-up, if that's your thing.
By the time you get to the office, you are sweaty. Bedhair has returned. Mascara is running.
That's the drawback of our beloved urban bikes. The counter argument? Speed. Bikes go a whole lot faster than an electric scooter. And they give you the benefit of light to moderate exercise during your commute.
The risk of a motorized scooter is faux exercise. You've been in the great outdoors for an hour as if it were a bike or a brisk walk. But you don't get the cardio benefit of either of these things.
Almost like feeling satisfied after watching someone else exercise!
Then there are other comparisons. Some say they are more likely to follow road rules on a scooter. Coming to a complete stop and starting again on a green light doesn't take as much energy on an e-scooter as it does on a bike.
How Do Electric Scooters Operate?
While a Razor scooter is mobilized by gravity - think downhill, or by the rider's own body pushing it, e-scooters power themselves by their battery-powered engine.
You only need to push it to start, then the engine kicks into gear.
E-scooters typically have a top speed of 15 miles per hour. At that speed, you can cover a mile in 8 minutes.
Should I Ride on the Pavement?
If you're interested in trying an electric scooter, you might now be wondering where to ride it - road or pavement? You should ride on the road, in the bike line while on a scooter. Leave the pavement for walkers, joggers, and wheelchair users.
Ride to the right of the lane unless overtaking. At 15 miles an hour, it is unlikely you'd be passing a cyclist except as you launch off at the lights.
How Do the E-Scooter Schemes Work?
In California, electric scooter schemes cost around $3 per ride. You rent the electric scooter via a smartphone app and tap off with your smartphone when done.
Let's look at the biggest scheme company, Bird. It's valued at two billion and its founder is a former Lyft and Uber executive.
Bird uses an app. The app shows a map of all the available scooters in your area. By zooming in you can even see the relative battery charge for each scooter.
Once you locate the scooter, you tap a button to unlock it and take a photo of the scooters QR code. If it's your first rental, you need to also take a photo of your driver's license. You have to be over 18 to use it and can only ride one person at a time.
The rules on the scooter state that the law requires scooter riders to wear a helmet but not many on the streets of San Francisco follow this.
The company has been giving free helmets to regular riders since this February. It costs $1 to unlock, and from there you pay 15 cents per minute you use it for.
You kick off three times and then can push the throttle button with your thumb. If you want to go faster you squeeze with the right hand. The brake is on the left side, similar to the handlebar brake on a bike.
Other share scheme companies include Lime, valued at 1 billion, and Skip, valued at one hundred million dollars.
Legal Issues for Share Schemes
Starting in March, the three companies boomed. Hundreds of e-scooters appeared in downtown San Francisco. Over the space of a few weeks. Residents were a bit confronted by the sudden change.
Some legal issues resulted.
Since June 4, San Francisco began to ban any scooter scheme companies operating without a permit. This is the result of resident complaints. Scooters left around sidewalks and in front of their buildings annoyed them.
The electric scooter programs don't use docking stations like similar bike schemes. It became a big problem for the city.
City officials have started to regulate places where the scooters can be left. They are also now stating how many can be left in these designated spots.
The Future of Scooter Sharing Schemes
For anyone in San Francisco or Washington, the future of scooter sharing schemes is uncertain. City officials are still catching up on the regulation of these dockless two-wheelers.
If you like the idea of using an electric scooter without having to worry about changes to the law, you should definitely consider buying one.
Why? It's an environmentally-friendly way to commute.
It makes it easier to use transit. You'll save on gas money.
You'll save a whole lot of time by not sitting in traffic in your car or in a ride-share car.
Weighing up the Benefits of Owning an E-Scooter
Private electric scooters on the market can clock up to 17mph. That's an improvement on the 15 miles per hour offered by scooter share programs.
If you're still unsure if you should buy your own electric scooter, ask yourself the following four questions:
1. Do I want to save money and time on transport? Yes/No
2. Would I prefer to help the environment? Yes/No
3. Would I like to save on the maintenance costs I spend on my bike? Yes/No
4. Do I like to have fun? Yes/No
If you answered mainly 'Yes', it's time to look at your options for an awesome e-scooter.
Decision Made: Ready to Shop!
If you decide to buy your own e scooter, choose from the best makers of electric scooters.
GOTRAX offers a 30-day no hassle returns policy. If you regret the decision or you try it and it doesn't work for you, no problem.
Here you can read our guide and find out which electric scooter is best for you