Electric Scooters and COVID-19

In Australia we don’t have the extensive lockdown laws as some countries have, we can still get out to go to work, exercise, shop, etc if it's classified as “Essential”.   
We are not sure what is happening specifically for each state but if you live in Brisbane Lime's distinctive green-and-white electric scooters have all but gone from Brisbane's streets in a temporary halt to operations in response to the covid19 pandemic and in the interest of public health.

Whilst local governments have not banned micro-mobility companies from operating, Lime issued a return to base across its fleet in order to protect riders and contractors, the company's 400 scooters would be temporarily taken offline until the situation had eased, but said it was only a short-term pause to operations. Lime is taking the opportunity to perform thorough disinfecting and maintenance on its scooters and e-bikes.

On the other hand, Brisbane based, Neuron, confirmed its orange bike and scooter models would stay in Brisbane and other cities with additional hygiene measures in place. Neuron has about 700 scooters in Brisbane.

They issued a statement that basically stated "We continue to actively monitor the situation and the advice given by the WHO and local health authorities, undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic situation will have an effect on how people move around cities and what transport options they choose to take. We are doing all we can to reduce the risks while operating an efficient service for those that absolutely must travel." a Neuron spokesman said.

We would imagine with QLD at the forefront in electric scooter acceptance within Australia that we would be seeing drastic cuts and similar shared scooter retraction in other states, in fact, it's happening at a rapid rate around the globe. Decision-makers in a number of USA cities have classified scooter operations as an essential service amid the covid19 crisis.

What does this mean for the Shared Mobility Electric Scooter? 

The way we see it is shared services will no doubt be financially impacted with fewer people in the streets and the additional measures required to prevent contamination of different riders, sharing of helmets, etc. we cant imagine every scooter would undergo cleaning and disinfection after every ride. Depending on how long the stay at home orders last the impact to these businesses may, in fact, see them disappear altogether. While scooter foes may cheer, saying goodbye to these shared scooter services, cities will be worse off if these vehicles do disappear for good. Electric scooters are an effective means of transport for first or last mile or those short trips otherwise made by car in and around our CBD’s. 

What about Personally Owned e-rides?

In terms of a Personal Electric device be that an electric scooter, e-bike or electric skateboard we think this is completely different if anything completely the opposite. 

The fear of getting on public transport at this point in time is encouraging people to think of other alternative forms of transport, in fact there has been an uplift in sales of bikes, scooters and skateboards. If we look at this from a social distancing perspective these forms of transport make absolute sense. Riding one of these naturally forces social distance measures between riders. 

It encourages to some extent exercise, a greener form of transport, and an economically lower cost of commuting, something that a huge number of Australians will benefit from. 

The coming months will be very challenging for our Australian cities. Cities and transport systems will need time to recover from a virus that has left sorrow, joblessness, and anxiety in its wake. Electric scooters — those funny little devices that seemed like silly distractions before becoming a serious mobility option for thousands of people — could make that recovery a little easier, and a little faster.

1 comment

Paul J Meyer

I would concur that electric scooters have an important role in commuting and leisure activities. Electric scooters with their ‘magic carpet ride’ have fired the imaginations of millions of people. Governments all over the world have allowed the importation of many increasingly powerful machines as the demand for these has increased. While allowing record sales of e-scooters to continue unabated these same governments have enacted cynical and draconian laws to prosecute and persecute ‘lawful owners’ of these wonderful devices.

Paul J Meyer

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