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I rode all the e-scooters, and most of them are awful except two (jalopnik.com)
143 points by ourmandave 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 147 comments

> We’ve restricted our entrants to scooter-type vehicles (as opposed to e-assist bicycles)

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 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.

I understand that rules for bike paths depend on local jurisdiction, but why wouldn't an e-scooter fit a bike path in Venice, CA?

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...

> 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

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.

This kind of e-scooter is illegal to use anywhere in the UK, because they don't comply with EN15194 - you can't use them on the road because they don't meet the standards for a motorcycle, nor can you use them on pavements or cycle lanes. The government has mooted creating new regulations to legalise e-scooters, but we're a bit preoccupied at the moment with, well, you know.


Indeed, thanks for reminding me, I completely forgot to note that in the initial listing despite my very example demonstrating this case: e-scooters are currently illegal in france (because as you say they comply with neither EN15194 nor motorcycle standards), they may be legal next september.

Yes, in Germany e-scooters are legal to drive on bike paths and streets this week. You have to have insurance though, there is a max. speed of 20km/h and it needs lights and everything.

But if these scooters fit the requirements, they seem similar enough to bikes to allow them to drive on bike paths and streets.

Berlin has lovely bike paths covering much of the city and people still ride bikes on pedestrian sidewalks, especially (but not only) if there's no bike path there and they are supposed to use the street.

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?)

"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, "

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.

Ah, right: cycle paths are generally like this everywhere, but e-scooters going on them not necessarily. They're all over cities in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, though, and I've also seen them in Berlin.

Good. The Netherlands is so flat that there's no legitimate reason not to just use a shitty, beat-up, stealable bicycle like everybody else ;-)

In Los Angeles, Motorized vehicles are not permitted on sidewalks and paths. As a rider, you are liable for all personal injuries that result from your riding. Without insurance, you are putting your financial life in jeopardy. Think about it!

>Without insurance, you are putting your financial life in jeopardy. Think about it!

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 think there is a pretty solid claim to be made against the tech companies who scatter these scooters throughout cities (often times illegally)

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 just use of these devices on certain roadways, bike paths and sidewalks that may be illegal from jurisdiction to jurisdiction...but leaving them all over public spaces the way they do is also illegal in multiple jurisdictions (hence why city’s/counties began confiscating them and the scooter companies pulled out of a number of markets).

It’s not about ignorance of the law, if I get hurt by one I can sue both the rider and the scooter company.

The law is concerned with both actions and their intent. While placing the scooters on the street may not be illegal, the entire reason for doing so is for people to ride them. Its pretty clear intent to incite people to break the law for profit.

That very much makes the company involved with what happens when people do just that.

I agree, but, the practical reality in LA is that the police very rarely ticket people for riding these vehicles on the sidewalk. The insurance angle you mention is interesting, but let me ask the question: practically speaking, how would any pedestrian who is injured by a scooter rider in LA actually hold the scooter driver financially responsible? What is the mechanism? Will police actually even respond to a call for such an incident?

> how would any pedestrian who is injured by a scooter rider in LA actually hold the scooter driver financially responsible? What is the mechanism?

Same way they would if they were injured by a car, or by someone punching them in the face.

> Same way they would if they were injured by a car

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 rider, you are liable for all personal injuries that result from your riding.

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.

Let me restate my point;

Very few people have bicycle liability insurance, yet scooter liability insurance is a concern?

The scooter apps instruct you to use bike paths when available. That's why most of them are limited to 15mph so you can still use these paths, as you are moving just as fast as someone on a bike would anyway.

I regularly ride my e-bike in SF but have also dabbled with the rental scooters. I have a hard time understanding the scooters' popularity, compared to a rentable e-bike like the Jump or Lime bikes. In my experience e-bikes have the advantage in top speed, stability, comfort and safety. Other than taking up marginally more space when parked, I can't think of any downsides. This matches the article author's conclusion. Can anyone explain to me what I'm missing?

I take both Jump e-bikes as well as various scooters on the regular. Honestly I prefer Jump Bikes - it's almost always cheaper and faster and safer. I definitely feel more "seen" by cars as well.

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.

> 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.

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.

Oh yeah - I've seen plenty of not-confident-bikers hop on scooters and ride them in the street.

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.

Yeah, taking out-of-town friends to the Emergency Room is fun too. Sorry if I sound snarky, but as a former EMT who has ridden scooters I know the damn things are deathtraps.

Yep, found this out the hard way and almost killed myself. Not clamoring for prohibition though. Also would never climb on one again. My remaining balance on Lime will be forever unused. Best part was the notification asking me to rate my ride which I received as I was regaining consciousness. :)

Care to share more?

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

Wish there was a way to get notified of replies on HN.

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.

Barrier of entry.

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.

Looks can be deceiving.

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.

Space? Scooters are smaller, which means they can be more plentiful, which as a transit solution means more reliable.

He was referring to e-bikes.

edit: Sorry, I think I misread your comment. But he does mentions space as a minor downside of e-bikes.

It's trivial to take your e-scooter with you in the subway, in your car and in your office.

Yeah, but we're talking about rentals.

Have you tried the rental e bike? I've only tried Lime's and it was hell to ride.

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.

The difference is we in SF have serious hills. Therefore bikes are a better form factor for us.

Scooters are fine if you're doing 10 flat miles.

In Atlanta and I've come to a similar conclusion; Bikes for anything > 1 mile away. Scooters handle 5 blocks pretty well.

Maybe partly because scooters are less regulated (at least until they started doing this...)

There were multiple fair metrics given for it being the best.

Maybe it means scooters aren't the ideal form-factor for this service.

> There were multiple fair metrics given for it being the best.

The unfair part is that they included one bike-like service, but didn't compare it to other bike-like services.

During the single day of this test, I found three Wheels with intentionally cut brake lines

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

Evil and insane people unfortunately do exist. Some of the failures of modern technology are directly related to refusing or ignoring this inconvenient truth.

And some of the worst abuses of power and technology have come from assuming that evil people are relatively common rather than extremely rare.

Sadly, crime is fundamentally asymmetric: a small number of bad actors can inflict damage and pain on a large number of victims.

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.

I see it in my city--people get so worked up about these scooters on local social media or in editorials, they create a mob mentality. I can see where this drops the taboo in some folks' minds about causing harm o whomever uses the scooters. It's a result of people's attempts to dehumanize those they don't agree with.

You know people give Americans shit for opposing anything 'public' but it's not a sentiment out of nowhere. Everything made for public use is abused and turned to complete shit. Not sure if it's a cultural thing or what.

American apathy is a real thing. People used to love public works and public institutions, then the funds supporting these public good endeavors were slowly slashed and looted in the second half of the 20th century, leading to a lack of maintenance and improvement all while the population was growing.

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.

I don't think this apathy is just unique to Americans. I feel like today's population in general (across the world) is more tolerating and expects less from their governments and leaders compared to say 60-70 years ago. We don't see protests like the old days. I don't know the reason - maybe student debt (people are too stressed out about paying back their loans etc that they don't have time for anything else), stagnant wages (people have to do multiple jobs to make ends meet), maybe because cops have much easier/powerful ways of tracking anyone they want, I dunno.

I can't speak for elsewhere, but here in America corporate news media has been spreading anti-Government propaganda for literally decades, backed up by the Republicans slowly gutting every Government program or system and making their provided services suffer. Once things get bad enough, they subcontract the service to a private company. The company does things just as poorly as the Government did, but they keep it consistently bad which is framed as an improvement as opposed to slow degradation.

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.

It's not only America, it's all around the world.

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.

People are as energetic as ever about controversial, tribe-splitting issues, possibly more. We are not going to let power fall into the hands of our blood enemies just because our party’s candidate messed up the trains. He knows this, so there is no reason for him to spend political capital on them, so they will continue to deteriorate.

> Jeez, this is just shitty behavior

Also, manslaughter.

If it's done with malice and forethought, is it not just murder?

Seems like they will need to add aggressive regenerative braking to all of these things not for the power savings but for safety. And somehow integrate a single lever to control both (like many electric cars do)


Abstracting this basically yields: "Random stranger X did something that is not right to do, so I'll hurt another random gal/guy Y for that"? Dear god, I hope you live really far away from me.

I agree with your thought process. I myself would never do that and I definitely don't endorse it. OTOH, if we apply this principle to the scooter riding population, we see that the people who ride these vehicles on sidewalks are hurting random gals/guys too. These riders made a conscious choice to defy the vehicle code -- and for what? Having some fun? Failure to plan their route to include a little more time? They just don't feel like walking? I mean, how can they justify their endangering the walking public?

I don't think there is an OTOH with this one.

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.

So, it comes down to intent. But we don't actually know what the intent of the brake line cutter was. Imagine, say, that it was a disgruntled, out-of-work taxi driver who simply wanted to damage the competition. He didn't want to physically harm anyone. He simply chose a terrible way to go about it. His intent was simply to reinvigorate his way of making a living in order to put food on the table.

Punish 1 to educate 100, as a famous founder of a new superpower famously said. Except that strategy could work only if the 100 actually got to hear of the punished one, which will likely not be the case in this particular scenario.

I understand why people want to fuck with these, but cutting brakes is taking it too far. This is just lazy, disgusting form or "resistance", as you call it. Somebody commented about painting over the QR code, that seems sensible.

Scooters are annoying so it's ok to potentially injure strangers? The mental gymnastics are baffling.

If I have a problem with bikes lanes, is it okay for me to drive my car in them? Is it okay for people to park in front of EV charging stations with their big trucks? Both could be described as acts of "resistance".

You must be lost... here, let me help: http://nextdoor.com

How about instead of attempting to kill people you direct your petty rage at your local city council meeting and remind the good local government officials of their responsibility toward enforcing traffic ordinances that are already in the books.

So, if I'm pissed off at drivers it's ok to start cutting car's brake lines?

At least destroy them in a way that doesn't endanger people.

This is the first I've heard of people tampering with the brake systems - it's incredibly malicious. I understand some people might be frustrated by the scooters, but is manslaughter really the right way to go about it?

Story here in Lyon, France, yesterday about a less-dangerous attack on the electric scooters: instead of cutting the brake cables, vandals are painting over the QR code instead. No QR code to scan means no useable scooter. Link in French: https://www.leprogres.fr/rhone-69/2019/06/10/a-lyon-les-trot...

To be fair, QR codes are a fairly fragile technology for something like that. If instead of destroying them, someone replaced the codes with a malicious link the outcome could be worse.

Great idea! I'll go print some QR stickers tonight

I like it - is there a way to block the antenna ?

Someone detached my brake cables on my bike locked right next to a hill that lead to the busiest road in the area. I noticed before I even got on the bike, but come on people.

Wow! That's something I do not normally even check. Then again, I don't leave my bike out of sight but the fact that someone would even think of doing something like that is pretty close to an attempt at murder.

Yeah, having ridden Birds around Paris at 25 km/h without ever considering this (I think they had lever brakes with cables too), this is terrifying. People are crazy.

The insane part is riding at 25 km/h without a sufficient breaking system, horn and or a license. Take a bus, walk or buy a motorcycle.

Why do you say "buy a motorcycle" instead of "buy a horn and a bike with disc brakes?" Is there something intrinsically wrong with going fast without at least a quarter ton of steel with you?

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.

I hope you weren't on the sidewalk at this speed

They have true dedicated bike lanes in Paris. Taken from the car lanes to reduce most streets to 2 lanes. The only things allowed on the sidewalks are people, pets, prams, and cafe tables and chairs.

> They have true dedicated bike lanes in Paris. Taken from the car lanes to reduce most streets to 2 lanes. The only things allowed on the sidewalks are people, pets, prams, and cafe tables and chairs.

FWIW the only things allowed on bike lanes are bicycles[0] 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…).

[0] this includes EN15194 LEV: pedal-assistance only, under 250W continuous rated power, 25km/h assistance cutoff

Is that only true in France? Bird and Lime capped their scooters to 15mph in my city so they can be considered bicycle-type vehicles by traffic law (and not a moped that you need to register and get a license plate and insurance for). The apps even recommend you stay in bike lanes wherever possible. When they first appeared out of thin air in my city, limes had the muscle to go 20mph (birds didn't have the oomph to break 15 unless going downhill).

> Is that only true in France?

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.

How about those moped-shaped electric wheelchair buggies? (I’ve always wondered what the proper “lane” for those is; they go fast enough and have enough momentum that they’re dangerous on the sidewalk, but they’re unprotected enough that it’s dangerous for them to be in the bike lane, let alone a car lane.)

...or do those even exist outside of America (and maybe the ex-Commonwealth)?

They're considered equivalent to pedestrians and should use the sidewalk at walking speed, unless it's blocked. They shouldn't be on the bicycle path.

According to French rules of the road, that is. https://ressources-ergo.com/legislation-et-fauteuil-roulant-...

Here in the UK, we have two categories of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs. If they're capable of no more than 4mph, they can be used on the pavement; if they're capable of more than 4mph but less than 8mph, they can be used on the road without a license but they do need to be registered.


> If they're capable of no more than 4mph

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.

Funny that you talk about bike lanes: on my way to work I cross a bridge, with the sidewalk on one side being a bike lane, I usually walk on the other side, since it's closer to the tram station I'm going to; each time I'll have to avoid bikes and e-scooters that don't want to go to the other side and instead choose to swerve among the many pedestrians that cross that bridge

It is all but impossible to get injured due to this vandalism. If the brake cables are cut, you will be unable to even mount the scooter. It's the same UX as on a bicycle: The rider must (unconsciously) press the brake lever to keep the bike in place while getting on it.

You'll know right away if the cable is cut--before you even start your ride.

I don't think thats how most people mount a bicycle. You can easily get on it without touching the brakes. After all while you are still touching the ground you are breaking it.


When you find yourself posting in every comment thread of a single submission to grind your axe, it's probably time to look for a new submission to participate in or take a break from HN.

It worked in the French revolution!

Maybe I'm coming into this with low expectations; the best we have in NYC is the CitiBikes (by Motivate) that are strictly human powered, dock-based, and not cheap. But I love these scooters and would vote for any candidate for mayor that made it a priority to remove the blocks preventing these things from being issued.

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.

The larger wheels on the Wheels bikes (and electric bikes in general) seem like a big pro to me, after some injuries from small cracks in the road while riding a scooter. I think the advantage of Wheels over other electric bikes is the smaller parking footprint.

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?

To be honest, the Wheels in particular I thought were just kind of silly looking. I also didn't want to sign up and give my credit card to another random company, when I could use most of the vehicles around through other apps. I didn't know that they were cheaper than scooters -- I don't think I ever paid more than $2 for a scooter ride, and most were less than that. Next time I'll try the Wheels.

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.

I've started to see quite a few electric moped/scooters by Revel [1,2] parked around Brooklyn.

[1] https://gorevel.com/ [2] https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/05/29/shared-mini-motorcycl...

Yes! I've already signed up, but have yet to take one out. The only thing is that it's not a bike -- it's an actual motor vehicle that you drive on roads at normal traffic speeds, which seems vaguely terrifying to me, as I've never really driven a motorcycle of any sort.

I visited D.C. recently and the National Mall is a decent 'padded room' for tourists to ride scooters, but even with large open areas and wide paths there were still numerous instances where scooters disrupted flow of pedestrians. I think Manhattan lacks the space necessary for tourists to ride the scooters, and everyone to store them, and introducing the scooters with existing strategies would quickly become a large safety and traffic congestion problem.

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.

To summarise -- people shouldn't be idiots.

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.


Please stop breaking the guidelines.


Seems like the main flaw in the ones the author labeled "awful" was a geofence policy that limited the top speed on a "bike path", or locked them out of it altogether. Makes it a bit difficult to generalize their conclusions, especially without knowing more about the path to be able to judge whether that policy is reasonable (and/or mandated by the city).

The Venice beach bike path is a "standard" mixed-use path. Wide enough for bikes to pass in opposite directions - total width is a bit wider than a full size pick-up truck. It's fairly twisty and bordered by sand on both sides, so if you run over the edge, you probably fall on your face.

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.

So the #1 scooter is not a scooter?

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)

We used to have both brands on my school's campus. I found the lime app on android to be very buggy (crashing, not letting me park my scooter, etc.), not sure if that has changed.

They fixed the app but it can be slowish to respond if you just pulled it out of your pocket. There was a period of time where I could unlock a scooter, close the app, and get a free ride.

I was somewhat annoyed by the penalising of scooters that stopped you riding on cycle paths; presumably you aren't meant to use them on there, hence the restriction.

If so, the company that limits speed to 3MPH - enough to exit the cycle path - is doing it exactly right.

Indeed. The ones he rated poorly were the ones that tried to prevent him from breaking Los Angeles City Municipal Code 63.44.

Yes, but I like the ability to make that choice. My car is not governed, why should my scooter be? This is not unreasonble, even if inconvenient thinking.

I would generally be in favour of restrictions that stopped cars driving on cycle lanes.

Until there's a broken-down vehicle blocking the road, and the only way around it involves encroaching on the cycle lane (carefully!) ... but your hi-tech geofenced car forbids that, so you're stuck.

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.

> 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?

If there's a broken down vehicle blocking the car portion of the road, the road is closed. If the bike lane were protected with a physical barrier, you wouldn't be able to enter it. Why shouldn't it just be off limits?

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.

At which point, letting the vehicle move at 3Mph on the cycle lane is perfectly solution (as one of these scooters companies does).

I took an Uber scooter yesterday and it was the most bone rattling experience I’ve had in a while. Not sure who designed these but there is a reason bicycles and cars have had pneumatic tires for a century, now. Wheels look interesting and I hope they extend their service area to south Florida.

Ive been using an ‘adult’ push scooter for five years in an urban environment. This year I encountered the electric rentals for the first time, and bought a Xiaomi m365 (aka the Bird scooter).

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.

Is the m365 good? I was thinking about getting one a few days ago. I usually cycle, but a scooter would be nice for smaller distances around the city.

(Not OP, have owned one for two weeks of daily seven mile commuting.) Good as in, "in comparison to similarly-priced scooters"? Yes, it's probably your best choice in that segment. You can spend a few hundred more for the M365 Pro or Ninebot ES4, but you're mainly getting more battery. Parts are no problem, as I'm pretty sure you could build a complete replicate from Alibaba, right down to the screws and molded rubber bits. Build quality is decent, but not great. Overall, better than I expected for $400 off Amazon.

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).

The other two opinions are in line with my impression: it is the best starter scooter in its class based on overall value. It costs substantially more to have one that will have superior performance without trade-offs.

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.

Also not OP, have owned one for 6 months.

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.

Does anyone know who the manufacturer of the “Wheels” scooter/bike is? That design appeals to me much more than the standing scooters.

I think this[1] is the one "Wheels" uses but it's pricey and sold by a UK company though it appears they ship to the US for a flat rate £10. There's also this one[2] which is a similar design and just as pricey.

[1] http://i-walk.co.uk/product/urban-2-foldable-electric-scoote...

[2] https://onemileusa.com/

Is there a cargo scooter/bike that can carry groceries? I'm not asking for more cargo than I can carry in my hands, but I can't imagine carrying more than a gallon of milk home in one of these.

The Jump bikes (now owned by Uber) have a front basket, I think you could carry a gallon of milk in there: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/2JfovJ9ePnfvHQI3SyuAgZx-teA=...

Any of them, if you own a backpack

That sounds awful.

The title is misleading. the OP tried well "most" of the "rental" e-scooters available in his geo-location.

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!

So, this is a comparison about how lenient various scooter companies are when it comes to allowing use on restricted bike lanes in a particular city. This article applies to people living in Venice Beach who want to ride these in bike lanes and not much else.

The bike looks cool though.

The legal liability for these companies must be huge. I’ve seen toddlers on these things with their parents, more than once. Kids very often.

They probably have it in their fine print that you are not allowed passengers. They'd be stupid not to really.

The headline makes it sound like they tested all the scooters you can buy, but it's specifically talking about 5 rental scooter brands in one location:

"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."

So he tested a bunch of low end scooters and concluded that all of them suck. otherwise the sky is still blue. Some people may not realize that all of the rental companies only stock cheap low end scooters. In general those scooters are slow, have shitty brakes, suspensions, tires, etc. The scooter that I have has large deck, pneumatic tires, excellent suspension, dual hydraulic disc brakes and can go up to 65 km/h.

This article seems to be ranking how well the scooters comply with the local GPS based speed restrictions which don’t apply everywhere. I’ve only ridden a couple of them but I prefer the old generation Lime, it seems to be the quickest accelerating with highest top speed and the disc brake is better than other options that have regenerative only. My area doesn’t have GPS based speed restrictions though (they do have GPS based parking restrictions)

Well, "rode all the e-scooters one can rent". Spend your own hard-earned, and better options abound even if you just buy the retail version of the Xiaomi/Ninebot that Bird/Lime use because it won't be geo-fenced.

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.

As I understand the speed is throttled on bike ways. So is it only allowed to ride e-scooters on the sidewalk?

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.

Recently used e-scooters while visiting Detroit. They were hit or miss and hard to find a handful that actually worked (charged, maint., etc) near each other. However, when they did work, it was a pleasant experience.

While it was interesting, I can't say that I'd prefer it over walking or public transportation. Also, South Park definitely nailed it.

Sounds like the author missed the existence of the real road legal ev scooters (like Vespa Elettrica, Unu etc) and complains that the skateboard-with-handlebars type ones don't do miracles.

I really want a high-quality non-e kick scooter. After the trend passed out, there aren't many high quality kick scooters manufactured.

Oxelo Town 9 EF V2. It's a little too heavy though.

It looks like it's not using pneumatic tires. and it's rather difficult to purchase from Japan for no official dealers in Japan.

Good write up. I wonder if people would have such a problem with these scooters, if they simply sat upright when left instead of falling over. Most photos I see of these scooters, are "piles" of them, or them strewn on the sidewalk. Even with kickstands, I doubt users would leave them in neat order - however I wonder if there's an engineering solution that would prevent them from falling, or at least encourage people to be neat.

In theory, some of them have gyroscope things that can send a signal if they are not upright.

Articles like this are why I love the internet. That was a fun (and informative) read!

Good write up. Don't see the cangoroo sticks on the list.

Any recommendations on a good scooter to buy?

I own a Glion Dolly (https://glion-scooter.com/dolly/) and my girlfriend has a Segway ES2.

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.

I was about to pick one up last year but held off, figured my bike was collecting too much dust. The Xiaomi m365 was the standout though. The air tires make a huge difference in comfort. I'd actually get sore with the hard rubber wheels on the other segway models I you scoot for distance. Plus if you brake hard they get flat spots and start thudding, ruining the ride. All the companies have a couple different models in circulation, try them out before you buy!

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