Electric scooters: the future of urban transport or an urban threat? Car News

Electric scooter users must be 18 years of age or older and have a full or provisional driver's license.

Electric scooter users must be 18 years of age or older and have a full or provisional driver’s license.

We travel the roads of London to find out how to rent an electric scooter, what it costs and what it is like on an open road with a top speed of 12.5mph

On every level, electric scooters are somewhat of a contradiction. They are – by some measures – essentially a children’s rollabout, but they can be powered to be capable of surprisingly fast. Vulnerable but dangerous; silent but deadly; loved by some but ridiculed by many.

They now also sport another dichotomy in the UK: illegal but hired. You can’t take your private scooter out in public, but in government trials – sped up by Covid’s created need for socially distanced modes of transport, preferably with fresh air – you can now rent them from the public. local authorities in around 30 areas, from Barnstaple and Basildon to York and Yeovil, and an ever-growing number of London boroughs.

Transport for London has given the green light to three rental companies: Lime, Tier and Dott. Of the three, Lime is the biggest hitter; the San Francisco-based company, which began in the rental of human-powered bicycles and has moved into electric bicycles, is now established in 130 cities around the world, including London, New York and Paris.

Berlin-based Tier also operates in Paris and 100 other cities, but has gone the other way to Lime: after starting out in electric scooters, it now plans to expand to electric bikes. Dott, founded in Amsterdam by two alumni of e-bike rentalco Ofo, is the smallest of the three, with a footprint of 20 cities by scooter only.

In June, only five London boroughs were part of the trial: Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond and Canary Wharf, with the City of London, Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster in July.

How to rent an electric scooter

You will need to be over 18, have a smartphone and, as electric scooters are classified in the UK as motor vehicles, at least a provisional driving license.

Allow a few minutes to upload your license, bank details, and verification selfie. Once verified, you have to complete a multiple choice cart of an online safety test, the kind that stops right before asking if it’s safer to stay in your lane or engage a flamethrower. .

It is best to download the application for each operator; you can stick with one if you want to, but you expose yourself to moments of howling to heaven if their scooters aren’t in line or their app isn’t working when you need them.

Indeed, during our test day, the unreliability of the application affected both your intrepid reporter and his loyal cameraman Steve. I had downloaded all three apps, but neither Tier nor Lime worked for me that day; this could have been attributed to personal incompetence if Steve couldn’t listen to them either, so Dott got the green light by default.

Scan the QR code, listen to the beep and your mount is ready. Each of the three brands have slightly different scooters, but the law requires them to have working front and rear lights – often the way you know you woke the thing up from its resting sleep – plus what TfL describes as a “Audible warning system that can be used without adjusting the grip of the handlebars by the rider,” better known as the bicycle bell. The lever brakes are also directly taken out of the push iron drawing board.

Elsewhere on the crossbar, you’ll see indicator buttons, a speedometer that may not be fully visible on sunny days, and a Go button, better known to mechanics as an accelerator. This is not a motorcycle style spinning throttle, but more of a mountain bike trigger gearshift except you have to hold it down.

Put your phone in the cradle, give yourself a push – since they’re not as light as you might think, pointing down might help – and you’re on the go. Not the pavement, unless you are a fan of confrontation and fines.

On the road by electric scooter

The acceleration is reasonably fast, the first experience of which can cause an unwanted high-pitched noise that won’t make you cooler to an inquisitive audience. Fear not, you will soon be leaving the bipedal sap behind, perhaps whistling the old song “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus”.

Straight out of the wharf, the Dott faced a daunting task – scaling the dragging side streets leading to Richmond Hill – but he succeeded cheerfully, purring happily. By the time we took more traveled roads closer to the summit, the confidence increased with the altitude.

The ride is reasonably comfortable. While you’re not immune to scars from service trenches or suddenly diving into a drain grid, 12-inch tires absorb bumps better than hard-wheeled scooters; again, think about mountain biking, except without the shocks transferring directly to the seat tube in your breeding gear.

Cycling problems you may experience include encroachment of the exterior mirrors – on one occasion an expensive-looking Porsche came along …

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This notice was published: 2021-06-30 23:01:24

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