Electric scooter wars continue
It’s a scooter world
It is a scooter world and we are all just living in it. It has been almost impossible to go outside and not see a rash of electric scooters. The idea of another easy method of transportation that can easily transport riders to places too far to walk but not far enough to bother getting on the Metro or into an Uber is really great. The problem is that too much competition might ruin the entire industry.
Difficulties with the scooter market
The problem with the scooter market is that as soon as one company found moderate success, everyone tried to jump on the bandwagon. With increased competition, the market has gotten harder for all involved. While some aspects have improved, like the quality of the actual scooters and availability, not everything is roses.
Not one of the scooter companies has become profitable and each is facing what are now industry-standard problems. There have been massive investments in the eScooter business, but so far the returns haven’t been great. Or frankly, there have been no returns.
With increased competition, the market has gotten harder for all involved.
Beyond missing profits, but there are also concerns with the durability of the scooters. Each scooter lasts for approximately three months, which is not a long period of time. This is also far longer than when eScootering first became a thing. The rate of theft was high so new locking technologies had to be employed, and the scooters were often breaking so their lifespan was even lower than the current three months.
There have been regulatory issues with cities and regions. Helmets are generally not required, but in some older cities with more questionable road quality, this can be extremely unsafe and it’s only a matter of time before the personal injury lawsuits start.
The problem is that too much competition might ruin the entire industry.
With each city rollout of scooters and new company trying to cash in, there are regulatory issues. Cities would like for there to be permits and bylaws respected. There are issues about lack of helmets provided or required, issues with braking and parking, and scooters being abandoned and stolen.
There is no standard set of regulations or bylaws for eScooters and most cities had not prepared for an invasion of emobility transportation that was not regulated for roadways. This lack of rules and regulations has led to confusion for all involved, and also many angry pedestrians being overrun on sidewalks, scared drivers on the road, and angry city politicians.
Helmets are generally not required, but in some older cities with more questionable road quality, this can be extremely unsafe and it’s only a matter of time before the personal injury lawsuits start.
In many of the initial rollouts, and some in other countries, the scooter companies have decided that it’s best to beg forgiveness than ask for permission. The scooters begin showing up then the companies wait to see what the city or region is going to say about it and how much money they’re going to have to pay.
Further improvement needs to be made on all sides. Increased mobility for people is always great. The issue is really about regulation and ensuring proper protections are put in place for riders, drivers, and pedestrians. Ultimately those protections also help the eScooter companies. Unfortunately, many of them may not be around for long if they can’t find a way towards sustainable profitability.
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