November 20, 2018
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With the global electric scooter market expected to increase from roughly $16 billion today to more than $37 billion by 2024, according to one study, bigger companies – particularly automobile manufacturers – are starting to make bigger investments in this segment of the “micro-mobility” industry. Yet the rapid growth of scooter usage is also sparking one company to start a public outreach campaign regarding scooter safety.

[Above photo by Louis Tamayo.]

“As micro-mobility continues to flourish, we’re renewing our commitment to keeping streets and sidewalks safe and accessible to the entire community,” noted Toby Sun, CEO and co-founder of dockless bike and scooter firm Lime in a Nov. 5 blog post.

He said Lime will spend $3 million to fund an outreach effort to help educate users regarding safe scooter operation practices. That effort – dubbed “Respect the Ride” – includes encouraging scooter uses to sign a safety pledge and wear helmets, Sun noted.

Photo by Ford Motor Co.

“Through our Respect the Ride pledge, we will ask riders to join us in committing to safe riding practices, including abiding by local traffic laws and parking properly,” he pointed out. “The first 25,000 riders to sign the pledge will receive free Lime helmets in the mail for showing their support. Over the next six months, we will be distributing a total of over 250,000 free helmets to riders across the globe.”

Sun added that the campaign will involve “multi-channel local advertising” that includes digital and outdoor advertisements reminding riders to wear helmets, abide by local laws, park responsibly and stay aware of their surroundings when riding.

Photo by Ford Motor Co.

“As cities and communities adapt to new modes of transportation, rider safety and education will remain our top priority. This includes the need to make our streets safer for all micro mobility users,” he said. “Lime is committed to partnering with policymakers around the world to better support micro-mobility on our roadways. We will continue to work diligently to encourage the construction of more protected bike lanes and infrastructure designed to accommodate and safeguard these new transit options. We believe it’s our responsibility to partner with cities, riders and residents to make sure everyone gets from point A to point B safely.”

study released by data platform management firm Populus in July indicates that the popularity of electric scooters as an urban transportation option continues to increase in major U.S. metropolitan cities.

Photo by Ford Motor Co.

Yet one potential roadblock that might slow broader use of two-wheeled scooters is that most city and state laws do not allow them to operate on public roads – a problem that would need to be resolved by new transportation policy initiatives, according to Populus’ analysis.

That’s not deterring investment in the scooter industry, however. For example, Ford Smart Mobility – a division of Ford Motor Co. – acquired San Francisco-based electric scooter-sharing company Spin on Nov. 8; a move the automaker described in a statement as its “latest strategic move” to build a “mobility portfolio” to help customers get places more easily, more quickly and less expensively

“Scooters allow cities to offer an equitable last mile solution to their residents thanks to the relative affordability,” the company said. “Combined with ease of use and electrified power, scooters can also help reduce urban traffic congestion, parking limitations and pollution.”

editor@aashto.org

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