It would seem that scooter sharing companies are making a push for safety awareness. This was suggested by a recent report from the Verge that discussed Lime’s latest initiative.
“Following the recall of the Segway Ninebot scooters, Lime launched a $3 million program called Respect the Ride, which is designed to educate riders on safe riding practices, distribute helmets, and improve maintenance. It says that it will distribute 250,000 free helmets in the next six months around the world, and that it will partner with city officials to help improve safety.”
The report went on to say that Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Lime’s rival Bird, is working on ruggedized scooters that would stand up to real-world use. While this could bode well in the long run, scooter sharing companies have dealt with a number of challenges in the few years they have been around.
Even before electric scooters started falling apart while people were riding them, the scooter sharing industry had a major problem, as cities didn’t really want them. But they just came in anyway like Uber did, with little regard for regulatory oversight.
The business model allowed riders to just dump the scooters anywhere and everywhere without regard for safety or any other consideration. Not long after, electric scooters were littering the streets and sidewalks, and regulators eventually stepped in. But the companies were already entrenched in the market.
Furthermore, there was a pair of huge safety issues – underaged riders and riding without helmets. Someone casually picking up a scooter from the side of the road wouldn’t necessarily be carrying a helmet.
From there, safety became an even bigger concern when scooters from the makers of Segway started catching on fire. It was the hoverboard problem all over again. Hoverboards developed such a bad reputation that they were slapped with shipping bans. Stores refused to sell them.
Now, scooters are literally falling apart during use. Some report that certain models of scooters tend to fall apart when transitioning from a curb at high speed. But the reality is that proficient scooter riders expect the vehicles to be able to handle a curb. Amid the statements from scooter sharing companies that highlight safety as a priority, many believe that safety in that particular space has been little more than an afterthought up to this point.
If you see scooters from any company made by Segway or Okai, it may be best to avoid them for the time being and pick up something else. Although for the moment, the better advice may be to just enjoy a brisk walk.