E-scooters: A modern transportation
Translated by Maria Oikonomou
It was December 2018, when hundreds of rental electric scooters (E-scooters) were placed in various – central points of the city of Thessaloniki. Announcing the beginning of the e-scooter era in Greece. One month later, it was Athens’s turn. A different – innovative – ecological (?) way of transportation came into existence (wheels and steering wheel to be more specific). And very soon it managed to become the talk of the town.
However, after the initial excitement, the use of e-scooters gradually began to decline. Until the need for crowded travel brought them back to the spotlight. At the same time, questions about their context of use , which still remains vague, were brought up .
The trend of micro – mobility
It has been 3-4 years that the concept of micro-mobility has been introduced in the traffic world. It includes the urban transportations characterized by the word “short”: short distances, small number of passengers, low speed and low energy consumption. Electric scooters and bicycles available for rent in big urban centers belong to this category.
E-scooters: Legal framework
The first official recorded E-scooter accident with an E-scooter in Thessaloniki was the reason to clarify the legal framework for the use of e-scooters in the country. Questions arise about where is allowed to ride an electric scooter? What should be the maximum speed? And how to ensure that the user will be over 18 years old? The lack of a legal framework in several countries around the world, including Greece, has led some of the rental companies to temporarily suspend the sale of electric scooter. At least till the enactment of legislation that will provide all of the above.
Electric scooters were introduced to the market as a “green”, alternative way of moving that would reduce car use and, consequently, air pollution. However, they became very popular to users who would move on foot, by bicycle or public transportation. Nevertheless, the daily collection of e-scooters from company vans and the frequency with which they are destroyed – replaced, leads to polluting the environment more than they protecting it.
A look at the future
Right now, one can rent an electric scooter in 100 different big cities around the world. It is estimated that by 2024, 4.6 million scooters will be available for rent worldwide. A great number, considering that in 2019, 774,000 electric skates were recorded. Now, the prices of e-scooters are quite affordable, as shown by the increase in their sales to individuals. Is micro-mobility and its electric means the future of urban mobility? One thing is for sure: the answer will be given really soon!