Safety Concerns About Electric Scooters in Urban Areas
Electric scooters, as a very popular commuting and fun rideons, are increasingly using streets, sidewalks, parks and other areas within urban spaces, and they are used by everyone, from children to adults One of the main problems that can occur with the appearance of electric scooters on the roads is the impact on the distraction of drivers of other vehicles. An interesting fact is that 58% of car drivers believe that e-scooter drivers interfere with their movement in a way that drivers were forced to adjust their speed and manner of movement to the speed and manner of movement of the e-scooter.
Only in the USA, between 2013 and 2017, 32.400 injuries related to electric scooters were recorded, and the estimated annual rate of electric scooter-related injuries increased over time. Last year, only in Los Angeles, 250 e-scooter drivers ended up in hospital, and three were killed. The most common injuries in traffic accidents among electric scooter riders are head injuries, ie 27.6% of all injuries. A sharp increase in injuries caused by the use of e-scooters was recorded among people aged 22 to 39, but the largest number of injuries were recorded among children (34.6%).
In order to reduce the number of injuries caused while driving electric scooters, there are two preventive actions. One is directly related to the physical protection of scooter drivers and relates to the use of protective helmets. The second refers to better visual appearance of electric scooter drivers and implies better lighting of the electric scooter at night, so that other traffic participants can spot them more easily.
Different Countries Use Different Regulations About Electric Scooters
Depending on the country, there are various legal provisions that regulate the use of electric scooters, and those regulations range from a complete ban on the use of electric scooters in public areas to completely free use without any restrictions and prohibitions. Our goal is not to claim what is better than to give you a brief overview of solutions for the use of electric scooters in different countries.
In Germany maximum prescribed speed for electric scooters is up to 12 mph, and maximum motor power up to 500 W (up to 1,400 W in the case of self-balancing vehicles), maximum weight (without driver) : 120 lbs.
Electric scooters must meet the basic requirements for technical correctness (brakes, lights, audible signals and basic requirements of vehicle dynamics). No registration is needed, but insurance is required (with a sticker as proof of insurance that applies to the vehicle) and a driver’s license is not required.
Also, drivers of electric scooters must be over 14 years of age, vehicles may not be used on footpaths, common pedestrian-bicycle paths or other areas intended for pedestrian movement, vehicles may only be used on bicycle paths (if any) or on the road and cities may allow the use of e-scooters in certain places, with the obligation to place a traffic sign in those places.
In the Netherlands the driver must be at least 16 years old, no driver’s license required, no registration required, however the vehicle must be insured, have an insurance policy and vehicle identification number, no helmet required, maximum speed limited to 16 mph.
In Switzerland maximum allowed speed of electric scooter is up to 16 mph and motor up to 500 W, minimum age for electric scooter driver is 14 years, no helmet is required if the maximum speed is up to 12 mph. Electric scooter can be ridden on a special road, bike paths and bike lanes, bike paths and lanes must be used when they are available next to the road and e-scooters are not allowed on pavements or footpaths.
In Israel riders under the age of 16 cannot use e-scooters, and riders over 16 need a driver’s license or a certain e-bike license, which can be obtained after attending an appropriate course at school, or in appropriate training centers, helmets are always mandatory and a reflective vest is mandatory when driving at night and in conditions of reduced visibility.
In California, registration, license plates or insurance are not required for driving electric scooter, but the driver must have a valid driver’s license (any category). Drivers under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, the scooter can be used on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph (or up to 35 mph if local authorities allow), but the scooters themselves cannot exceed 15 mph and the scooter can be used on a bike path or bike lane, but not on a sidewalk.
Electric scooters are very interesting and in the future there will certainly be an increase in the number of these electric rideons. Both, young and older drivers just adore them. What needs to be done is to make sure that we are maximally protected while riding electric scooters and to wear protective equipment such as helmets, elbow and knee pads, gloves etc. Also, scooter drivers should pay more attention to other people around them, but also that those who do not ride scooters understand that someone can pass by them. So, pay attention to these increasingly present gadgets on our roads, sidewalks and parks. Together, we are equally responsible for the overall safety of people on the streets.