And then the conclusion is that the most bicycle-like one is best because it's more bicycle-like. Seems like a category arbitrage rather than a fair analysis of mobility options.
And refusing to take bike paths with not-a-bike is apparently eliminatory rather than making the device shoot up to the top of the ranking.
Give the article opens up with
> they want the rights of a pedestrian, the rights of a bicycle, and the rights of a car, all at the same time, which is an incredibly dangerous mindset.
that'd be hilarious if it weren't so maddeningly lacking in self-awareness.
> And it has Bluetooth speakers, so you can play your music from the bike itself, freeing you from having to dangerously (and in Santa Monica, illegally) ride on the street wearing headphones.
fucking great, because if there's one thing I want more than an electric moped doing 30km/h on a bike path, it's that moped blaring shit music.
Over here (Finland, like all of Europe) we have roads, we have bike paths, and we have pedestrian pavements. E-scooters are always good for bike paths, and if they move faster than 15 km/h, they are not to be ridden in pedestrian areas, only bike paths, even if they are not exactly bikes.
If there is a road, a bike path and a pavement, each group has their own lane. If there's only a road, everyone uses it, with pedestrians on the side and bikes next.
If there's a road and a pavement, then pedestrians and slow e-scooters use pavement and bicycles and fast e-scooters use the road.
If there is only road and bike path, motor vehicles use the road and everyone else uses the bike path, with pedestrians on the side.
I do agree what you say about music blasting mopeds...
Are you sure about that? Because it's not an EN15194 LEV, so whether it's considered a bike (allowed on bike paths) or a moped (not so) [edit: or are completely illegal as jdietrich reminds me] is a local / national concern.
For instance France just passed a law which will allow e-scooters on bike lanes with various limitations (and requirements, like a horn and both front and back lights). The law passed in February, and will take effect in September. E-scooters on bike paths is currently illegal there.
But if these scooters fit the requirements, they seem similar enough to bikes to allow them to drive on bike paths and streets.
Some of the younger ones blasting music (yay bluetooth speakers) but I actually think that part is legal as long as they don't operate their phones while in motion.
So, yes, Europe is good at making traffic rules, but two-wheeled traffic has a lot of the same issues as in the US. (Maybe not in Finland?)
These escooters aren't even legal to use at all in any place that is public in the Netherlands, let alone that it would be decided where they should ride.
In addition to riders, if the scooter is a rental, I think there is a pretty solid claim to be made against the tech companies who scatter these scooters throughout cities (often times illegally) and allow them to be rented by anyone (with no training, no education of rules of the road, no offering of helmets, I’m not sure these thing come equipped with safety lights of any kind, etc...).
I don't know about that, the device itself is not illegal, only its use on public way. And technically ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse.
It’s not about ignorance of the law, if I get hurt by one I can sue both the rider and the scooter company.
That very much makes the company involved with what happens when people do just that.
Same way they would if they were injured by a car, or by someone punching them in the face.
oh. interesting. do these scooters have something like a license plate that one could use to trace back to the rider? do scooter companies service requests from random injured pedestrians for info about the rider of a particular scooter? does the DMV have a database of these vehicles? will the police help a pedestrian who tells them she was hit by a scooter and the rider just took off? if so, how do they find the rider? I mean, how does all that work?
As a walker, you're liable for all personal injuries that result from your walking
As a dog owner, you're liable for all personal injuries that result from your dog.
> Without insurance, you are putting your financial life in jeopardy.
Most drivers are underinsured if they send a few people to the hospital. On a scooter though, covering the average cost of a scrape or the beyond costs of a broken bone isn't nearly as peril.
Very few people have bicycle liability insurance, yet scooter liability insurance is a concern?
That being said, with a scooter you aren't pedaling at all. Even on an e-assist bike you're still getting the adrenaline pumping and sorta sweaty. And a lot of people are afraid of riding bikes in traffic, so while even though bikes are actually much safer, there's a lower mental barrier to entry with scooters. People who almost never ride normal bikes (which is most people) have a harder time adopting the mindset of taking a bike share, e-assist or not.
Plus scooters are straight up more fun to ride with a group of friends - it's a genuinely fun thing to have out of town friends do.
In LA it's not legal to ride scooters on the sidewalk, so, in theory, people should fear riding scooters too because they're supposed to ride scooters in traffic -- just like the bikes. Of course, in practice, almost everyone rides everything on the sidewalks in LA. Traffic codes are mainly unenforced here.
Even though riding a scooter in the street is often fairly terrifying, I feel like there's some kind of easy mental jump that has people getting on without nearly as much reservation as they would have hopping on a bike.
I assume not wearing a helmet, going fast, downhill?
Interestingly, my first scooter experience was on one without brakes. I suppose I'm just athletic enough to jump off at ~10mph and keep running
Anyway if you happen to see this I was not wearing a helmet, on flat ground. Not proud to say but I was on sidewalk and the rear wheel slipped off the side into soft ground bringing the entire apparatus to a quick halt from prob 15mph. Woke up a few min later with my face on the sidewalk and my legs curled up beneath me. Luckily I was wearing a thick stocking cap which prevented me from more serious injury. Total damage was bruised brow ridge and lip/chin, missing chunk of leg flesh apparently from hitting the handlebars, broken hand, and broken ribs.
Folks like me that haven't ridden a bike since they were a kid are scared as hell of riding around traffic. Scooters are much more approachable.
I ride a push bike, and had an electric one for a while. I've had my fair share of accidents. The last one was when the local council put in a drain at the bottom of a hill - and then didn't bother to place a proper road mix over it before sealing it with asphalt. Trucks then turned into something that looked more like corrugated iron with 300mm corrugations, which being at the bottom of a hill I hit at about 70km/hour. I lost a lot of skin (I pitched over the handle bars and slid along the bitumen) - but walked away.
That would not have been the outcome had I been on a e-scooter. I've tried an e-scooter when on holidays, found myself effortlessly doing doing 30km/hr, my first thought was "gee this is dangerous". The wheels are tiny, so a small obstacle is going to bring you undone. Your position is all wrong - standing on the thing you are a pole waiting to be vaulted through the air and slammed head first into the road, or possibly skewered by the handle bars on the way down. (Push bikes tend to send you over flying the handle bars which sounds bad but you don't hit the road - you slide along it.)
I'm not at all surprised to see serious accident and death rates and took a sudden surge upwards with the introduction powered scooters. They are inherently far less safe than bikes, yet as you say appear attractive and safe to inexperienced riders. It's a recipe for disaster.
edit: Sorry, I think I misread your comment. But he does mentions space as a minor downside of e-bikes.
All these devices are absolutely abused. My lime's seat was skewed to the right, the handlebars skewed to the left, and it was the best one out of the clump when I picked it up. As soon as you touch the pedal the thing flies off nearly to top speed, which wouldn't be so jarring if the geometry of the bike didn't have you leaning forward on the seat and awkwardly holding the wide and unhelpful handle bars.
I'm sure a 'proper' e bike is much nicer, but these things are beach cruiser style bikes which have all the cons associated with beach cruiser style bikes. They really should have been mountain bikes with nice comfortable handlebars and a balanced upright position.
The scooter on the other hand, all you do is stand up straight and twist the handle. No clumsy positioning, no jarring electric assist. They are pretty fun to ride assuming you've picked a relatively unabused scooter, otherwise that too is pretty terrible and dangerous to ride.
Scooters are fine if you're doing 10 flat miles.
Maybe it means scooters aren't the ideal form-factor for this service.
The unfair part is that they included one bike-like service, but didn't compare it to other bike-like services.
WTF is wrong with people? I understand these things are annoying and litter sidewalks, but intentionally cutting brakes to harm someone? Jeez, this is just shitty behavior
This is particularly well-known in the domain of public urban facilities, where everything can be assumed to suffer vandalism or sabotage at any given time. You only need a handful of thugs to have a “gang” that can effectively demolish anything fairly quickly, including facilities used by hundreds or thousands of people. Defensive design, in this domain, is not just warranted but necessary.
People look at a destroyed public bathroom and blame society, smirk at how shitty and nonfunctional the government is, and put on their blinders and move on with their lives. People don't look at the bathroom and say "we should hire more public custodians to support our city services." People even vote, and campaign against education funding measures.
We've reached a point where there is so much inertia to improve the smallest things, that's pretty scary.
A great example of this was when the American Healthcare Act was being passed, and Republican lawmakers spent a ton of time gutting the requirements for the insurers and cutting Government subsidies to those insurers to offset their costs, only so they could then complain about the onerous and overbearing requirements (the ones that remained, anyway) and blame the Government for not being willing to help offset the costs (the money which they refused to grant for such purpose).
Meanwhile we've spent trillions on a plane none of our armed forces asked for that hasn't flown a single mission. But no, the single mom buying food on EBT coupons is what's crippling us.
Because income inequality has exploded, the middle class is now nonexistent.
So there are now only the rich who don't have to deal with the problems of the poor, and the poor who are both too busy struggling to survive and too poor to lobby to enact change.
Eventually the guillotines will arrive but for now it's just bad public toilets.
If we apply this principle to the scooter riding population, we have no idea whether the person who's brake lines were just cut is going to be riding on the sidewalk in the first place. Heck, even in the case that the next person to use the scooter does ride on the sidewalk, cutting their brake lines greatly increases the risk to the ordinary pedestrians around them -- which was the whole thing that sparked the vandalism in the first place!
Riding scooters on the sidewalk is bad, but not comparable. One is negligence, and the other is a premeditated attempt to hurt someone who may or may not even have done anything wrong in the first place, while simultaneously greatly increasing the potential harm to everyone around them.
For that matter you can easily achieve 25 km/h on a normal unpowered bike. They don't seem to kill as many people as motorcycles though.
FWIW the only things allowed on bike lanes are bicycles and tricycles. Motorised cycles (including e-scooters or ebikes) are not allowed and should be on the road (if they're legal at all, which e-scooters often are not as they don't fit the motorbike standards e.g. no license plates, etc…).
 this includes EN15194 LEV: pedal-assistance only, under 250W continuous rated power, 25km/h assistance cutoff
To the extent that anything not obviously / actually a bicycle and not covered by EN15194 (mandating that pedelecs be legally considered bicycles) is left entirely to each country's devices, yes: the stuff above is french law (current as of now, a law passed early this year to make e-scooters legal under various constraints from September).
Other jurisdiction could have other laws / criteria yielding different results e.g. I think in Switzerland s-pedelec (faster and throttle-activated) can and must use bike lanes, but are limited to pure pedalling in pedestrian zone. Apparently your jurisdiction is based around speed capabilities, IIRC Belgium is similar, if devices can't go above a certain speed they're treated the same as bicycles.
...or do those even exist outside of America (and maybe the ex-Commonwealth)?
According to French rules of the road, that is. https://ressources-ergo.com/legislation-et-fauteuil-roulant-...
Do these even exist? I walk faster than 4mph and I'm routinely overtaken by these scooters on the pavement. I've never caught up to one.
You'll know right away if the cable is cut--before you even start your ride.
When I was in Venice on business, I used all of these scooters (except the 'Wheels', which to me looked silly; I could pick up an electric bike, which were also everywhere, if I wanted to sit down). All of the scooters I used (the same ones in the article) worked fantastically well, I never hit a geofence or had a problem finding one when I needed one, and they are all amazingly cheap.
I never got in or witnessed a crash; the scooters don't go fast enough that falling off is a big deal anyway, based on my experience having to hop off one when I got myself into a pickle.
Given that it's battery-powered, not dock-based (but bikes eventually get returned to hubs to avoid clutter), and cheaper than the scooters, what makes you still prefer scooters?
If I was going longer haul, I tended to use one of the electric pedal assist bikes instead of the scooters, but they were slightly harder to find than the scooters, which were everywhere.
If they could do the following, then it may be possible: Restrict to residents and possibly allow visitors who have ridden a certain amount in other cities. Restrict availability in large parts of the city to certain hours. Strong enforcement of no riding on sidewalks. Scooters must be stored in docks or racks, may not be left on streets (providers must rent storefronts or space in/near bodegas with penalties for scooters left on streets).
Even with all of this, I still think the scooters would become burden.
Storing them and riding them on sidewalks are the biggest common complaints that people have; next to that it's mostly on people to operate them safely, and I'm okay with that. People are always going to ride them on sidewalks, but NYC is an east coast city, people will have no problem yelling at people to stop so I'm comfortable with social enforcement. There aren't enough police officers in the country to monitor every sidewalk that people use for two minutes. Improving bike lanes is a general issue that NYC is working on, and the first step to having any sort of electric scooter is to make them legal _at all_, since they are currently illegal to ride on the sidewalk, bike lanes, and streets.
As for storage, I think we can live with it -- people park bikes on sidewalks and most places there's room to put stuff that won't get in anyone's way. I'm not worried about tourists -- for a tourist a scooter/bike is a horrible way to get around the city (except in the big parks). And in the boroughs, tourists are not really an issue the way they are in Manhattan.
As for appropriate speeds, a jog is about 5mph. That sounds reasonable and safe for a small-wheeled scooter. A townie/cruiser bicycle will do 10mph without too much effort, so that could be the upper bound too. Much faster with those small wheels seems dangerous regardless of location.
Also, some cities are banning those pedestrian focused areas. In Austin, they banned ebikes and scooters from our waterfront area that has a 10 mile walkway around it.
I ride scooters in austin, tx every weekend. Its half as cheap as a lyft and there are lots of competitors. Here’s my top two:
1. Bird - cheaper per mile and pretty reliable
2. Lime - often faster than the others, but more expensive and sometimes have minor defects (braking issues, throttle delay, etc)
If so, the company that limits speed to 3MPH - enough to exit the cycle path - is doing it exactly right.
Or you attempt to move out of the way of an oncoming emergency vehicle, as it's barrelling down the centre of the road to reach a dying patient ... but it needs an extra couple of feet of space that you can only give it if you move partly into the cycle lane. And your car refuses.
Do you think geofencing cars out of bike lanes would lead to more or fewer deaths overall, when you include all the cases of drivers killing cyclists that would be prevented?
I'm unhappy about a lot of the things self-driving cars will bring to our cities, but the one good thing that might happen is automatic bike lane enforcement.
I also have a normal bike. They serve different purposes.
Either version of a scooter is safer. I’ve been in a few situations where I’ve simply stepped off the plank and become an instant pedestrian, to avoid cars which would have wiped me out on a bicycle.
Now, is it "iPhone good"? Quality-wise, no. It's not very water-resistant, for starters, so it won't like a Seattle winter. The 250W motor is probably fine for tourist rentals, but it can be a bit anemic on hills. The mobile app integration is usable, but pretty meh. It's a 2nd-tier Android phone: good enough for the purposes of most people, for the money spent. I have no complaints with the M365, other than questionable durability.
Therefore, because I see making a habit of this scooter thing and water-resistance is a consideration, I have one from Boosted (the e-skateboard folks) pre-ordered. Should be iPhone/Pixel quality, and priced similarly ($1600).
I did start seeing Facebook ads after my purchase, for a Ninebot prototype model on indiegogo for ~$600 which supposedly has a 40-mile range, all other things being equal. That one might be a better value if it does have superior power storage, since range is the most limiting factor of them in general.
But I am quite pleased with the m365. It has a clean minimal appearance for the street, especially compared to the rentals if they are in your city. I keep it clean enough to carry into buildings with me rather than lock it out on the street, and no one has minded it yet. It feels a bit more like an appliance than a vehicle -- to echo other responses, I would worry about it getting very wet.
I don't bring it on mass transit (folded) during rush hour, but otherwise I do, and find them to be complimentary. It makes 1-2 mile distances as casually easy as a walk to the next block, generally speaking.
The xiaomi is the best thing I've spent 500 bucks on in the past year. It's been great because it works extremely well for me but it may not work as well for you. The difference between one being great and bad is super close IMO and totally depends on your parameters.
In my case; I live in a big city that doesn't have rental scooters. We have E-Bikes but they are hard to find, especially during a commute. I walk to work - about 3 miles round trip. Some hills but nothing too bad.
In my case, the scooter has replaced my commute and driven it down to just a few minutes. My work has a bike locker room, and I loop a cable lock through the wheel and go. Super super convenient.
Range is always a lie with these things, which can make things hard. My scooter has about 50% battery left when I get home, but I can't imagine having to push this thing around if it was dead. That would suck.
Speed on the scooter is pretty good, when the battery is lower it has some trouble on the hills, but it always gets me up them, just a little slow (I'm about 200... If you're lighter the scooter will be noticeably faster)
My city is reasonably safe but we have a good amount of bike theft. I lock it up at a few local businesses in the bike rack, but wouldn't just do it anywhere. I factor the chance of being stolen into the price, and I'm not super worried if it does happen. I have a u lock mounted on the "steering column" which works well.
Carrying the scooter is a little unwieldy. You can kind of roll it on one wheel while it's collapsed, but it's like 30lbs and kind of bulky. I have no problem bringing it from my apartment through the lobby and outside, but it would suck to say... Carry this through an airport or something (which you couldn't do if you wanted, but regardless...)
I'm able to get to my friends places easier by scootering over. I often drive down to the water and have a beer by the waterfront.
So, in my case the scooter has been AMAZING. But... I live in the city, have a commute within range, have a convenient spot to park, etc.
The bad: range could be better (there are better scooters for this), transporting it is a bit bulky, parking can suck if you don't have a plan. Everyone will hate you (cars, peds, bikers) but oh well. If you get stuck on a hill, it's gonna suck to get it up the hill. Flat tires are possible but easily avoidable. Bumpy sidewalks can pose a problem with the 8 inch wheels, although doing a little hop is fine (pulling the front wheel up an inch) to counter.
If you do get one, consider getting the m365s, it should become more available over the next few months.
If you get the m365, buy a s display and swap it. Buy some 3d printed handlebar spacers. Generate a firmware for it on the site (on mobile or I'd link, easily googleable though).
Regardless of model, get some tire slime for any preemptive punctures.
I was hoping for a comparison of the brands.
On the Scooter vs Bike discussion, my GF and I discussed the idea of getting bikes or scooters to commute to work and I gotta tell ya, scooters won by a huge margin. Biggest benefit is that they are smaller in size. we can roll them up in a closet, take them into the transit, and heck even put them in the trunk of an uber car when needed. we dont need to to pay for bike room fees and most cases can take them up to the office and store them under our desks.
the one point that I totally agree with is that scooter riders in this mixed mindset of wanting "the rights of a pedestrian, the rights of a bicycle, and the rights of a car, all at the same time", and yeah most of the accidents I have seen come from this misconception of which category they really belong to!
The bike looks cool though.
"We’ve restricted our entrants to scooter-type vehicles available on the street for rent in Venice, CA as of May 13, 2019. For this test, that means Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump (Uber), and Wheels are in the game."
And I'd rather walk than ride the clown bicycle that was the #1 pick, and I say this as one who rides a Xiaomi standup scooter to work every day.
In Switzerland e-scooters are categorized similar like Mopeds, so they are allowed (or required) to use the bike lanes or the street.
I wonder how this is handled in other countries as I just was in Spain and we saw a lot of e-scooters and I wondered what the rules are there.
While it was interesting, I can't say that I'd prefer it over walking or public transportation. Also, South Park definitely nailed it.
I would advocate for rubber tires despite the discomfort. the moment you get a flat tire is pretty much the end of your scooter's lifetime as it is very difficult to fix it.
I like Glion for its design and ease of carrying, but Segway wins in every other aspect. Depends on your budget. If you are willing to spend a grand or more then Mercane WideWheel probably tops the market right now.