This afternoon an electric scooter and its rider went past me and immediately turned a corner. I had no camera on me, but I scuttled after it anyway, to check that it really was electric. This is because electric scooters are so compact that the only way you can tell for sure that they’re electric is if they carry on for fifty yards without being pushed along by foot. Otherwise, you just can’t be sure.
These things may still be illegal, but they are already a fact of London life. I just nipped out for some milk, and there it was.
In this piece, a good point is made about how electric scooters are going to be much demanded in the aftermath of Lockdown, as a hygiene measure. Politically, this will be hard to resist:
Post-pandemic, will New Yorkers be willing to ride the subway, take a taxi or hire a private driver as they did before? Headlines here in New York already have mentioned a spike in bicycle sales. As New Yorkers re-think their transportation choices going forward in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the use of electric bicycles and electric scooters will undoubtedly become more common throughout the state.
That’s New York, but it could equally well be London. And the difference between an electric scooter and an electric bicycle is that an electric scooter is easy to carry and store while you work, while a bike could be a cumbersome nightmare by comparison.
Bikes are only built the complicated way that they are so you can peddle them. E-scooters just need charging up, and pushed by foot only in a power emergency. Or, you can just carry it, if necessary on a bus or train. (Will e-scooters be allowed on the Tube? They should be. Far bigger suitcases already are.)
Far later than I should have, I recently told Google to email me with e-scooter news, and here’s a bit from a press release I got a few days back, from Ollie Chadwick, Managing Director of this enterprise:
At the present time, eScooters are entirely legal in many countries and cities. In the UK they are permitted on private land and commercial sites. However, despite eBikes and foot-scooters being legal on the public road, eScooters are not – although they are in widespread use. It is this anomaly that requires clarification, together with a sensible ‘code of usage’.
Allowed, is what he is basically saying. I agree.
I can’t say about the rest of the world, because I seldom visit this place and have yet to do the relevant internet searching. But e-scooters are, I’m now betting, the next big thing in London transport.