The e-scooter has become a very common sight in most major cities. Scooters, themselves, are nothing new but what was once a child’s toy has become part of our transport mix. What seemed, initially, like a fad or a fashionable accessory has become a serious phenomenon.
Millions of people are paying to use these scooters so they must be meeting a need that was un-met before. To understand what is happening, we need to look at the explosion in city living.
Over 50% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas and this is set to rise to 75% by 2050, according to predictions from the United Nations. These city dwellers will need to move, both for work and for leisure.
Cars are not the answer because when you put cars on roads in densely populated areas, you get jams. Mass transit systems are the best way to move people. But there is still the issue of getting to and from the rail, bus or metro station. This so-called micro mobility problem is the space invaded by the scooter.
In other words, short journeys made usually by one person.
Looking at micro mobility more holistically, however, we see that the scooter is only part of the jigsaw. Most journeys on public transport or under five miles (a general, average estimate based on travel in US cities), which really isn’t very far. What if we replaced the scooter trip to the station AND the public transport journey with one, single micro mobility journey?
This is the opportunity for cycling.
Five miles is not a long trip for most cycle commuters but many non-cyclists might find this a little daunting.
Enter the e-bike. WIth pedal assisted travel of up to 25 km/hr and a typical range of about 80 km between charges, this seems like an unbeatable and readily available solution to urban mobility.
For cycling to find its place in the transport mix in cities, it perhaps needs to change its image. This is not cycling, this is commuting.
It’s a big shift in perception.
But if a child’s plaything can become the ride of a city executive, then anything is possible.