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How E-Scooters Are Riding Into Trouble Across Cities

By Parker Diakite

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Walk around any major city and you will see electric scooters. Similar to the rent-a-bike scheme, electric scooters are available for riders at their convenience.

Riders have praised the scooters as an affordable and eco-friendly means to get around. Critics, however, argue that they put the lives of riders and pedestrians at risk as people ride them on sidewalks or step over them as they lay in walk paths.

As a result, countries are pushing back and limiting how they are used. 

Most recently, officials in Singapore announced that they would test banning e-scooters on sidewalks, which could result in a total ban next year, as reported on CNN. The decision comes amid a local hospital’s report of six deaths linked to the scooters in 2019.

Singapore isn’t the only country to do so.

In France, scooters were banned from sidewalks in September after a rider was killed by a truck driver.

And across the UK, e-scooters are banned from public roads, sidewalks, and cycle lanes. 

Among the safety risks that critics say e-scooters pose, the most alarming is the impact they are having on persons with disabilities.

Some cities have docking stations but for the most part, scooters can be picked up or dropped off anywhere. As a result, people are leaving them abandoned anywhere. 

“If you’re a wheelchair user or a blind person, indeed a human being, I predict these two-wheeled electric scooters, will become very annoying.,” Simon Minty, a disability consultant tweeted in Brussels this past summer after examining two scooters left blocking the sidewalk. “They seem to be abandoned, in the middle of the pavement, everywhere I go. I saw three from the station to my hotel. #disability.”

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Where You Can and Can’t Ride An E-Scooter

In the UK, riding one on a road can cost six penalty points on your driver’s license and/or a fine of $385.

In Paris, riding on the sidewalk can cost you’re a $148 fine and dumping them in places of inconvenience, including a doorway or crosswalk has a fine of $38.

Spanish officials have banned them in Barcelona, and Madrid city officials refused granting licenses to e-scooter companies, CNN is reporting.

Meanwhile in the United States, New York City considers them illegal although consumers can own one personally.

Los Angles, San Francisco, and San Diego allow them. 

The Future of E-Scooters

As cities struggle with how to cope with the scooters, there’s a possibility that you may not see them too much longer if there’s not a better system in place to protect both pedestrians and riders. 

“I don’t quite understand how people can just leave them in the street,” Minty told CNN. “It just blows my mind a little bit.”

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