E-Scooters in the City
Since January 2019, when electric sharing scooters were introduced to the Danish capital, they have become more popular among commuters. These scooters have grown in numbers and more and more companies are popping up with their own brands in the city of Copenhagen.
The presence of these sharing e-scooters makes daily commutes easier, both for the citizens and specially for the tourists, just like the sharing e-bikes. But they are much more available, much more accessible and much easier to park in the city then the sharing e-bikes. Plus, I must admit that they are fun to use, and they increase your mobility throughout the city.
However, their numbers and ease of parking (almost anywhere), is creating problems for citizens and businesses. Since there are no designated parking spaces for these scooters, people leave them anywhere they want. Sidewalks, pedestrian areas, car parks, and urban spaces are filled with these scooters. you can even see them blocking the entrance to shops, residential areas or even parking accesses all over the city. Of course, in the app, they ask you to park responsibly, but due to the lack of verification methods, people leave them where they feel is easiest. Therefore, the cities shall come with some parking restrictions for these new forms of transportations in our urban areas, otherwise they will become more of a liability rather than a tool for mobility.
Another problem that the abundance of these sharing scooters is creating for the city of Copenhagen is respect for traffic and bicycle rules. Since the users of these scooters don’t have a sense of ownership to them, they feel less eager or keen to abide by the traffic rules. Many Copenhagen cyclists have been complaining about these scooters and the fact that they can zip through the traffic without much respect to the cyclists and in some cases cause accidents. A friend of mine recently had an accident when a scooter cut her through the traffic and she fell from her bicycle and broke her arm. The scooter didn't even stop, and it just continued its journey.
Of course, this does not mean that everyone who uses these scooters are not following the rules and norms, but the fact that there are so many of them, makes it hard to track every user and to determine whose fault was it. As a result, it becomes easier for the users to disrespect the traffic rules occasionally.
These scooters have increased the mobility of the people and they are certainly very useful in easing some burden from traditional public transportations such as busses or metro. However, the city should come up with ideas to regulate their presence throughout the city, both in parking restrictions and on traffic violations. We can utilize this new form of transportation in our cities safer and more efficient if they are bound with some common-sense restrictions.