If you are based in America, when you woke up one day found a bunch of electric scooters thrown in the street without proper maintenance. What are electric scooters and where they come from?
What Are Electric Scooters
There are various types of scooters in the market today. Most of these machines are tied to two categories under the way you power them. For the electric scooter, it is one of the motorized scooters. This connotes that motors power the scoot. For an electric scooter, its engine uses electricity as its fuel. That means it has batteries, a charger, and a motor that uses the battery to run.
Looking beyond this, what are scooters generally? Scooters are motorcycle or bicycle like vehicles because they all have the two wheels at the front of the framework and the back. Also, they all have a similar head, a handlebar steering and not the motor turner you have gotten used to in cabs.
Most of these electric scooters own a foldable frame for easy transporting. They also have a large deck so that their riders can place both legs on the deck quickly. Also, you will frequently find those of metal material, mostly aluminum. Finally, there are more of them with two wheels.
Regardless of these things, you have come to see often in an electric scooter; there are various types of this motorbike. This categorizing lies on the dissimilarities of designs. There are those we call the three-wheeled scoot. Funny enough a kick scooter can also fall under this category. So, if you are going out there to make a purchase, it is wise to be specific not to get burned.
Here are the types of electronic scooters you will find on the market based on wheels and why:
· Three-wheeled electric scooter― apparently because it has three wheels for balance. You can find them in various sizes. They also provide speed in the menu. You can get a three-wheeled kick or moped scooter as a kick scooter
· Two-wheeled electric scooter― these are the ones with the traditional kick scooter design, most of the time. They are fun to ride and come in various size. You can also get a moped scooter under this category. These kind of electric Scoots are what you will find in the current dockless scooter-sharing program
· Four-wheeled electric scooters― these are the kind you might see in some leisure firms but not limited to these areas. They provide more balance for a scooter but don’t deliver in maneuverability and speed. Kick scooters for kids could come in this design too.
· Moped electric scooter― we know you must be wondering what this one is after coming across it. In reality, when you do meet one, you will also wonder because of how unusual it is. These types of scooters are hybrids. They are two things at the same time. For electric scooters, moped scooters are those bikes that run on both electricity and bicycle pedals. So, when your battery has failed, you can still enjoy a cycling ride to your destination.
Here are the kinds of electronic scooters that exist based on their chassis:
· The foldable electric scooter― when you see a foldable Scoots on the move, you might not know it is one until the user halts and decides Scoot Bob be coming with. This electronic scooters are usually lighter than there alternatives and can be really portable when folded.
· Electric scooter― most foldable or folding scooters will have the word included in their long name. That is the same way that most electric bikes that can’t bend will let you know by omitting foldable in their name. These usually lean on the weighty side of things and have superb balance too. However, it might become trouble for you when it comes to conveying or parking them.
Origin of Electronic Scooters
Now that you have an extensive idea of what an electric scooter is, you might be wondering what brought up the idea and who. Bet that will further lead to why they are now storming the US and other parts of the world like a tidal wave. The truth is no one man has the praise of being the originator of this economic transport.
An illustration would be during the first sighting of this bike, in the year 1895. Within month gap two people had asked for a patent coverage concerning their bike design that ran on electricity, one was from Ohio and the other from Boston. While that is something you might raise a brow at, the next year, 1896, in England, Humber came up with something similar as an exhibition and the first tandem scooter like vehicle.
Over the years, others have been coming up with something that looks like our present scooter. However, until 2000, you can say they are those toys mum and dad will purchase for their kids and never had any say in the roads. At least, not like their senior brother, the motorcycle.
However, with the year 2000, came a revolution in human perspective towards scooters. In fact, the rating of electric Scoots got higher than that of gas scooters. It was and is more economical than its gas alternative, but that isn’t what really brought Mr. Gas scooter down. One of the main contributors to the unpopularity of the gas-powered bikes is the government taking steps against the vehicle. Their reason was legit as the motorbike had more risk of incurring accidents. One of the disasters involved the death of toddlers on a mini-gas powered scooter.
In the US, the most significant introduction of the electric scooter started in 2000 when a company named Segway, invented by Dean Kamen. It was an innovative piece that sold for $4,950 but ended up not being that incredible.
Currently, as of 2017, electric scooters have become so popular that it is now under the rideshare business in America and some other prominent locations across the world. If you reside in California or San Francisco, you should have come across one now, either on the sidewalks or with a rider on.
This new batch of scooters, are under the pilot program and are dockless, which means you don’t have to return them where you picked them so long as you are within the service area of the scooter sharing company.
If you are interested in hiring a scooter, all you need do is download the app of the company you have in mind. For example, Bird or Lime renter services will do. To get rolling with your electric bike riding experience, you will have to download the app of either bird or lime.
After you have that covered, the next thing is to survey the map to find out the scooter closer to your location. Then you enter your credit card and scan the barcode of the Scoot when you have found it to unlock the vehicle. Whala! You are now ready to fly.
Once you are done riding the scooter, pack it and let the company know you are through by ending the ride on the app.
Their First Sighting In America And The US
So, now, let’s look at when this ride made a significant appearance in America. Aside from what we have come to know as the Segway disaster, the next notable appearance of scooters in the streets of the US was not until 2012, when Scoot global, Scoot network or just scoot decided to make a sudden call to the public. It launched its services in San Francisco. On the public beta day, only ten scooters were available for test running with a promise of over 50 in the following weeks. The amount was $5 per hour and sign up fee for learning was $10. Unlike some of the notorious, major scoot-sharing firms we have now, Scoot provided its users with helmets, and it wasn’t dockless.
The first dockless scoot-sharing rides that came into the American land took both the residents and authorities by surprise like an unannounced storm. As usual, their first target was San Francisco, and they deployed their strategy in March. The residents went home the day before feeling safe and not expecting the source of amazement that waited for them the next day.
Just like Uber, the companies refused to do what is right by obtaining a permit but decided to follow the shoot first ask forgiveness later approach. Well, that fired back. An excellent illustration will be what occurred in St. Louise in July.
On the other hand, it is good to note that, at the moment the scooter-sharing program has gone beyond the US in North America. Right now, if you go to Canada, you will find one. Firms like Lime, Ofo and other big players are going into the international market to ensure fruitful business growth.
For the Canadian region, the first dockless scooter-sharing firm to make an appearance is Lime.
Response To Their Appearance And Aftermath
As it is with every new step in life, there will be oppositions and acceptance. While numerous of American occupants got fascinated and welcomed the development, there was a notable amount of those that opposed the move. The firms in question didn’t do the right thing to make city acceptance easy on them.
Bird, one of the defaulters in this case, stated that they had already notified the mayor via “text” on LinkedIn. In San Francisco, it wasn’t long after these rideshares made an appearance that the government told them to kiss the walks and street goodbye. That’s pending until the moment the vendor permit saga got covered.
While this innovative transport showed off how many people love to have an easier and car-free way of getting by on closer distance, the backlash it received led to abandoned scooters in various places and the pulling out of multiple companies including Ofo.
The scooter sharing development didn’t just present people with opportunities, like riding a toy on the stairs, it brought in risks. The first release of these dockless scooters didn’t come with helmets. For months riders had to ride without protection or advise on traffic regulation which led to some accidents on the sidewalks. This regulatory issue tied to the scooter rideshare also brought into the minds of the public the unasked question: “who owns the sidewalks and who owns the roads?”
However, as of August 2017, things started to look good for scooters over the country starting from San Francisco, which permitted two scooter firms for a start, Bird and Skip. While that might seem to be unfair for other ride-shares, it is good to note that scooters rental firms like Lime are already at the head of the game in other cities. In about 65 cities in the US and beyond, scooter rental companies are making their hit in millions and billions while obtaining investment from notable figures like Google.
As regards the aftermaths of this response, many firms are either being bought off like Jumper bike, or folding. However, the regulation issue isn’t the only contributing factor. The battle for dominance in the game is another to look at. Various scooter-sharing firms currently exist in the country. Each one wants you to have a ride with them, but you cannot split yourself into actual touchable copies. So, in the end, those who don’t play their game well have to leave.
In Seattle, it seems that Ofo is leading the rest in the piling of scooters, both good and bad. Although they claim that it doesn’t mean that they are closing their doors toward the possibilities that dockless scooter present, just ensuring that they continue to maintain a sustainable society by getting rid of scooters that no longer serve.
While that is something, the battle for dominance doesn’t just settle with the dockless electric scooters. The winged creature has spread its reach to other economic and innovative transportations. An excellent example is just west from here, in China. A trip or Google away will show thousands of bicycle ride-share equipment impounded by the government due to their overwhelming surge into the country. Plus, the lesser demand for it.
On the other side of things, firms like Lyft and Uber are ready to join the scooter game, a practical example that there is nearly no one who doesn’t want to make millions. While Lyft has created theirs with the intention to wow the public, Uber recently acquired Jumper bikes to step into the game entirely.
Also, some of the e-scooter sharing firms are beginning to garner significant achievement. Some worth mentioning will be Bird capturing the eyes of numerous investors and becoming a $2 billion company in merely a year. Also, Lime collaborating with the University of Waterloo for their Canadian venture is noteworthy. Ofo, the international bike-sharing firm has expanded its reach beyond China and North America. That shows that the firm is not ready to quit.
If you have been around since the time of Uber and Lyft, then you are very familiar with the new techs and options they provide in the transportation sphere. However, even beyond the hail-a-cab solutions, within the dockless ride-shared services scooters are not alone. Have you heard about our bike friends? Officially known as the bike-sharing system, these rental services are into the smart way of driving race.
Depending on what part of the world you are on, this rideshare system goes by various names. They all involve the word bike or bicycle. This type of urban commuting has undergone a fourth-time revolution. Now, there are two main variants of the bicycle-sharing program in the world. That includes the US:
· the dock stationed public bicycle system
· and the dockless bike-share system.
As is the case with the e-scooter rider share services, a docked bike rental is another word for stationed or automated stations. So, if you go ahead to try out a docked bike-share rental service, you have to pack the bicycle at the next park station crafted by the company. Currently, GoBike is one of the bike-share firms still offering docked services.
While docked station ride-share bikes have their merits, you can’t afford to overlook their demerits, mostly when the dockless is around. For one, with the dockless system, commuters don’t need to worry themselves going through the process of locating the next dock station before ending the ride. Also, the days of halting your journey at the next dock station are over. This is mostly correct for those who have to do that when they are not yet at their destination and have to find other means to get there.
As scooter companies are expanding their reach in various cities of the country, dockless bike-shared systems like Ofo are also growing their coverage. Some companies like Lime even boast of the two type of lower rate commuting vehicles
Scoot-Shared Rental Services In The Country
It is good to note that we did not place the following scooter-sharing services according to ranking.
1. Bird― this company we have come to know for its aggressive business style came to existence in the year 2017 by Travis VanderZanden who happens to be a big-time staff for both Lyft and Uber. The company has its headquarters at Santa Monica, California, and runs a dockless scooter sharing program.
2. LimeBike— Lime Company began offloading their services to the public in July 2017. You will find its headquarters in San Mateo, California. The firm started its first release of rideshare in Seattle. Since then it has continued to expand beyond several states and even the States. You can always find a dockless bike-share or scooter-share from this company to try out because that is what they run. Three people pioneered this company namely, Toby Sun and Brad Bao.
3. Jump bikes— Ryan Rzepecki is the founder of this company and did so in the year, 2010. The bike staged itself in the priced city of New York. Uber, the world known ride-share services, on October 2018 purchased the firm for about $200 million to kick starts its goal in the transport economy. The firm which at first hosted a bike-shared program now runs both bicycle-sharing system and scooter-sharing system
4. Spin— this scooter-sharing firm is an old one like the Scoot. This firm formed by Derrick Ko, Zaizhuang Cheng, and Euwyn Poon came to existence in the year 2016. You will find its headquarters in San Francisco, California. The company offers both options of dockless transportation. So, you can either hop on a dockless bike-share or scooter.
5. Scoot— Scoot is an old warrior that you might have seen as far back as 2012, remember their electric seat scooters? Well, this company came to existence in 2011 by Mat Ewing, Michael Keating, and Dan Reigel. San Francisco, California is the place you can find its headquarter. The firm was and is still into electric seat-on scooters, but has joined the stand-on electric scooter-sharing program.
6. Skip— another transportation firm making its rounds in various cities of America. The mothership of skip is Boosted. Yes, the Boosted electric Skateboard firm. Mike Wadhera and Sanjay Dastoor are the ones behind it again. This firm is looking at providing only scooter-sharing services to their target cities at the moment. You can find the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California.
7. Lyft— this rideshare firm is into the micromobility game too. The mothership is an on-demand transportation establishment founded by Logan Green and John Zimmer. The firm bought a bike-sharing firm named Motivate this year and had launched its scooter-sharing program in Denver. You can find its headquarters in San Francisco.
Cities Covered by Dockless Scooter Sharing Rides
1. Bird— currently, in the United States, Bird scooters-sharing services is available for occupants in 21 states and over 63 cities in various regions of the country, from the west to the east. Some states include California, Arkansas, DC., Missouri, and North Carolina. The firm also has other locations beyond the US including France, Belgium, and Australia to name a few.
2. Limebike— at the moment, in the US, Limebike is leading with 27 states and over 88 cities nationwide. Some of the states you will find lime services in are New York, California, Texas, Massachusetts, and Ohio. On foreign lands, Limebike is in Canada, Spain, Germany, Chile(Santiago) and a whole lot more.
3. Jump Bike— currently, in the United States, Jump bikes have opened its doors to seven states across the nation. Some of these states include Texas, California, Illinois, New York, and Rhode Island.
4. Spin— you can find Spin dockless sharing services in 14 states and 15 cities in America. These regions include Utah, Texas, California, Colorado, and DC.
5. Scoot— In the united states, scoot network has extensive coverage in various parts of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Other areas you can find this scooter-sharing service is in Barcelona.
6. Skip— you can always find a Skip scooter within these regions: San Francisco, Portland, and Long Beach
7. Lyft— this rideshare company just launched their scooter services in various parts of Denver and hoped to expand to many cities in no time.
Current Concerns For The Electric Scooters Among Occupants
1. Are they safe for old and young?
When it comes to vehicles, there are many things that we all should consider to determine if they are safe or not. Now, when we bring electric scooters to mind, you have to know that the materials used and design consist of how reliable the e-scooters will be. From chassis to wheel capacity. These parts also contribute to the weight max. So, what do we know about their safety measures because it has not been long now we witnessed a Lime scooter go up in flames because of a bad battery.
According to Quartz, LimeBike and Bird are good patrons of Xiaomi Mi electric scooters. Now, these firms have not come forward to let the public know if their products are marked safe. The only company to have stepped forward and done that is Spin. Their scooters have all gone through the test of UL labs and found safe for the roads.
Another thing to look at is the safety gears for riding. Most of these scooters you will find at the corner of streets don’t have helmets attached to them. That makes them risky for you. Yes, 15-18MPH may not sound as much or as Jeremy Clarkson puts it: “speed has never killed anyone until stationary objects get you.”
Currently, some dockless rental services like Bird have started giving out helmets for free on their apps. It doesn’t interpret to them having a protective headgear placed on each scooter. Hence, you have to either purchase one for yourself or check if the firm has one for free before hopping onto an e-scooter.
2. Accidents and way forward with dockless?
If you have been watching the news recently, you won’t ask the question, do dockless scooters and bikes get into accidents? The way forward is to figure out who is at fault and what you can do.
Who is at fault and who risk facing charges depends mostly on who is at fault. Was it a device malfunction issue in the scooter? Did a vehicle commit a hit-and-run on you? Did you hit a pedestrian while on the ride? Or perhaps you collided with a vehicle and evaded before you could get caught?
These are the questions that their answers will determine who gets to receive the brute end of the rod. Various law firms have begun to advertise their interest in assisting people with scooter related issues. That way, anyone who is at the receiving end of the life challenging event can receive his or her claims.
3. What Are The Requirements To Ride Them?
We are glad that you have this in mind because there are lots of them. Usually, each firm will have its rules outlined for you in their rental agreement or terms of service as Bird has done. Nevertheless, we would hand to you the general rules that should apply to most of these organizations. Doing this does not entail that you should overlook those written in your desired company’s page.
· For most of this scoot-share, you have to have a valid driver license to hop on board.
· You must be at least 18 of age.
· Make sure you park the scooters in legal areas. That means areas that permit parking.
· For most, you can only ride the scooters around the specific urbanized areas
· You must not hold on you anything that could prevent you from controlling the Scoot
· Update yourself on the weather condition in the area so that you can desist from using one when the weather might harm the scooter and you.
· You must purchase or get a free helmet and put them on when riding.
· For some, you have to ensure that you and your luggage don’t weigh beyond 200 pounds.
· You should not fall into the temptation of tweaking the locking mechanism
· Using the scooters for stunt racing and other kinds of scooter fun rides aside from basic transport might go against the rules of the scooter rental firm.
There are quite more to go through before riding. For most of these firms like Scoot and Bird, you will have to absorb the guidelines and agree you understand before starting your journey.
4. Are They Good For Short Trips
Of course, they are! Have you not come across the famous phrase— last mile transportation? If nope, well that is what they are. According to Statista 2017 reports, many cities in America appeared in the top 10 of cities in the world with the most traffic congestion and Los Angeles ranked one. Also, according to the reports that dished out of the home of the US Department of Energy, in 2017, 59.4% of cab travels spanned less than six miles,
Now, looking at the distance a scooter can travel, power consumption, time reduction, and thin frame, you can see the benefits. A journey that will usually span 30-minutes can now come to a conclusion within 6 to 7-minutes. That is regardless of the traffic condition.
Undoubtedly, many city occupants must have seen the merits in ride-share scooters. According to a July 2018 survey covering 7000 people conducted by Populus lots of people approved the innovative transport system. There was 50-80% positive view from participants across the various affected cities with Atlanta residents claiming the highest approval.
5. What Is The Riding Cost?
For most of these scooter rental services, the charges may vary between $1 to $2 to get on. Once the ride starts, automatic deduction of 15 cents per minutes takes place. Also, there are other plans. For most, you get a student, family, and employers plan.
While that comes with its benefits, there is a subsidized [ass plan for those with funds restrictions and without credit cards. For that to work out for you, eligibility, application, and approval are things you will have to handle.
Also, don’t forget that once you have registered to a service, you will need to link your credit card to the app. That way the company can continue to withdraw the exact cost of your ride per each minute without hiccups.
6. Can I Take Them With Me While Boarding A Train?
The simple answer is no. You have to let them go before boarding. However, the good news is there will be another shared-scooter or bike sharing service waiting for you at the other drop.
7. Why do I need A License?
It is the city laws, mostly for California. Hence, if you are riding in any city of CA, you must have a valid license to operate a scoot.
8. Which areas can I not ride a scooter?
Currently, In Beverly Hills, California, the administration has not only prohibited scooter rental firms from stepping foot into the region but has made a sighting of these vehicles through the roads illegal. Another zone to watch out for is the West Hollywood. At the moment, they do not allow the parking of scooters. While you can ride one by, don’t park one.
9. Who recharges these scooters?
Two sets of people handle the juicing of scooters in regards to the name they go by. While the engineers handle the tracking task and the techies handle the repairs, juicers or the hunters handles powering the batteries. At night when the firms have closed for the day, the juicers come to take the scooters home. Yes, these juicers are people you might know..
For them, it is a way to make extra cash for little to no headache. They will take the scoots home, charge them up, and early the next day; they return them to their zones for another awesome adventure. Dockless rideshares like Lime are good patrons for these individuals,
10. How do I become a juicer
To start out as one of the juicers or hunters you have to apply first to the company in question. When they accept you, they will provide you with unique access on the app that allows you to know where the scooters are and those that need recharging. For Lime, you can get from $9 to $12 per one scoot you charge. It all depends on how low the scooter is.
For both types of scooter retrieval system, none of them disclosed that they carry out a detailed background check on who comes onboard or not. While technically, for you to do that you have to be at least 18, as The Atlantic discovered, the opportunity is now a tough game among high schoolers and above. The situation is mostly through for rental firms running a scooter-hunting program.
For the hunters, each time you find a scooter that needs charging you have to capture the scooter by clicking on a button available next to the flag on the app. The bounty hunting makes it a very competitive game where one hunter can earn a noteworthy $20 to $30 per hour.
Now consider how much you can make if you take with you more than five to ten. This possibility has left the game a little hostile.
From the high approval rates we see in cities like Los Angeles to the clear benefits these micromobility transports present to city occupants, we can say that this is a come-to-stay trend storming various major cities of the world. Also, we are likely to see more of this innovation take over the transportation sphere as more areas needs improvement.