Electric scooters are an unsanctioned form of mobility here in Toronto, mostly because people think they’re dangerous, but also because I think people are worried about them cluttering up our sidewalks.
The problem with this position is that electric scooters are also a lot of fun to ride and people seem to find them useful. The last time I rode one was in Paris and it seemed perfectly safe to me, though it may have been because there were two of us on it and we were kind of overloading the thing.
In any event, lots of cities either have them or are piloting them. Seattle just finished year one of its pilot program and here’s what they learned:
- From September 2020 to October 2021, Seattle saw 1.4 million trips taken by over 260,000 riders
- Electric scooter ridership greatly exceeded that of public bicycles, with 300,000 scooter trips taken in September alone, compared to about 35,000 bike trips
- 54% of surveyed scooter riders said that they would have taken a taxi or driven their personal vehicle had a scooter not been available
- 21% of riders said that they used it to connect to public transit (helping to solve that pesky last-mile problem)
- 17 collisions involving a scooter and a car were reported during the pilot year (though, for what it’s worth, some/many of the incidents involved a scooter that was privately owned and not part of the actual pilot program)
As much as I love riding a bike, it’s a bit more of a commitment compared to riding an e-scooter, which is why I think the numbers look the way that they do here. Not everybody wants to bring a change of clothes and shower at the office.
So I think it’s really too bad that Toronto just shut these down before exploring ways to make them both safe and useful.