Rental eScooter Companies Create Their Own Problems

I’m getting tied in knots by eScooters. I really don’t want to write about them any longer but they keep intruding. So I’m trying to stay away from particular eScooter hardware, like past posts, and concentrate more on the societal aspects. (Besides, I stand firm in my judgment that the only eScooter worth buying is the Boosted Rev. None of the others are worth my time or your money.)

Need to educate your local politicians? This piece will do it: Is American Micromobility a Bust? The title is a clickbait disaster that speedbumps a very concise overview that will open political eyes to the changes that are possible — and needed. A sample:

Within a few years, micromobility will form the basis for a vast physical network of data, people, and retail. Lime and Bird hope to design, deploy, and harvest data from this project. They will also develop new vehicles that will have as much in common with today’s crude scooters as the iPhone did with its clamshell predecessors.

In fact, the iPhone is a good analogy in more ways than one. While iPhones are built in China, much of the profit comes back to US designers and mobile carriers. In 2016, the iPhone 7 debuted at a price of $649. IHS-Markit estimated that only about $8.46 of that went to China; the lion’s share of the value went to the US and Japan. iPhones also support monthly subscription fees, an $11 billion app ecosystem, and a massive accessories market.

Micromobility holds similar potential. The industry will spawn new business models, software platforms, subscription fees, and product ecosystems. All this will enable increased productivity, a reduction in emissions and air pollution, and massive savings in time and fuel.

Cyclists have been the first wave to reshape cities to accommodate personal transportation. Rental eScooters are the second wave, in conjunction with early adopters who own electric skateboards, the Onewheel, electric unicycles and, yes, electric scooters.

Another article brings up a very important point that’s glossed over.

It has another clickbait disaster title: Electric scooters force you to decide how much of a dick you are willing to be

Let me explain. The scooters are engineered to accelerate quickly, toward a max speed of around 15 mph, so even though I’d delicately pressed the “go” button I still shot down the sidewalk like a dog yanking its owner by the leash. I immediately braked, which required me to push off again as I gave the acceleration a second try. My less-judgmental L.A. friends told me you could scoot on the sidewalks, even though you’re not supposed to, but Sunset was decently crowded, and I soon braked again as I encountered the insurmountable obstacle of two people walking side-by-side.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Momentum. I raised this issue in my test ride of the Boosted Rev eScooter.

How many pieces have I read where the writer basically says of rental eScooters, “Just hop on and go”? Too many! I don’t know what prior Alt-Wheels experience those writers had, but no, “just hop on and go” isn’t how it works for ordinary people.

The momentum created by an eScooter — and an eSkateboard, Onewheel, or electric unicycle — is a new sensation for most people. It’s not like riding a bike. The closest it comes to is riding a conventional sit-down scooter or, possibly, a motorcycle. It’s entirely different from riding a bicycle, a sensation most people have had. And while most people have driver’s license, they’ve probably long forgotten the sensation they had when they were learning, how pushing on the gas pedal was surprising and they jammed on the brake — just like the guy quoted above with the Lime eScooter!

As I wrote previously in my second Boosted Rev post:

I hope these impressions of my ride helps others who have a similar forgetfulness of such momentum and are thinking of buying an eScooter. Otherwise, you can easily end up like this poor woman:

Boldfaced emphasis added here.

And here’s that video again:

Nashville Bird Fail!

Lime has caught on to how “just hop on and go” actually works against them. They’ve started offering the Lime Academy, an event where people can come and try an eScooter without the danger of getting into traffic as a virgin rider. The government of Spokane endorsed and recommended it:

Now that eScooters have generally progressed beyond the “dump them on the street and just let people use them” phase, it’s time for the rental companies to follow Lime’s lead with similar “academy” or “first ride” events. And they should try to do so with the cooperation and blessing of the cities they’re already operating in — and plan to operate in. It’s past time for such good public relations and — if I can use this antique term — good citizenship. Instead of being seen as an invading army, the companies need to woo the naysayers, entice more people too fearful to otherwise ride one, and be seen as part of the community. Leaving it all up to word of mouth isn’t going to work — and clearly hasn’t worked. If it did, and had, they wouldn’t be facing opposition in nearly every locality they want to enter.

The “problem” is no longer the eScooter. It’s the eScooter companies creating it for themselves. Heed Zig Ziglar:

Zig Ziglar: YOU Are The Problem

Previously here:

eScooters category

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