Do micromobility riders always get the blame

March 24, 2022


Here in the UK there is a concerted effort to make micromobility as prohibitive as possible with media making escooters seem to be total menace.

Keeping rental firms to strong limits such as 12.5 miles an hour for their hire escooters.

While media more often than not portrays the accidents in a format that puts emphasis on the micromobility driver as a way of attributing blame.

It is after all a sense of perspective in the perceived risks.

While most micromobility accidents are avoidable with sensible riding on micromobility such as e bikes and escooters makes the ride pretty safe for riders and other street users.

It is the addition of the cars on the roads that radically increase the risk of the micromobility users. While when accidents do occur between a car and a micromobility vehicle it is often pointed out that the rider of the micromobility is mostly to blame.  

This is for everyone in the micromobility industry to make heed of. All of us have a duty of care not only to ride well, but clearly state that the fast amount of danger lies in the heavy pieces of metal that can go exceptionally fast on the roads, i.e. cars. Rather than the use of escooters and other micro mobility.

While the pressure from organisations to force Government to legislate heavily on escooters. As recently came from the PACT, safety charity. Which focuses on road accident reduction.

With their suggestion of a top speed of 12.5 miles an hour along with Geo fencing amongst other things. Plus high standard of manufacturing. The charity and the car industry do not suggest top speed limits or limiters for cars. Cars can go as fast as they like and it is up to the police to enforce the top speed. Rather than having a limiter on it.

The recent article by the BBC shows how escooters, which are illegal on any of the public roads, are being hacked by mechanics to remove speed restrictions. The irony on the BBC is lost. As this is what is all possible with cars.

Privately-owned e-scooters are illegal to use on public highways, but are widely sold online and in shops. Most are restricted to 15.5mph.

The BBC has found mechanics offering to override e-scooter software, increasing top speeds to more than 21mph.

Safety experts said it should be illegal to remove speed limits, and called on manufacturers to do more.

Responding to the BBC's findings, brain injury charity Headway said it should be made a criminal offence to “tamper with the speed limiters on e-scooters”. While cars can literally go as fast as they like.

“The people that are willing to do that are placing other human beings in jeopardy,” chief executive Peter McCabe said. While ignoring cars going even 20 miles an hour.

His concerns were echoed by PACTS, which said “anti-tampering mechanisms should be included in construction”.

Obviously on a case by case basis it is hard to ascertain exactly who is to blame .

Here are a few thoughts as to why escooter riding self-regulate. Considering that the escooter reach quality build assurance.

The exposure of escooter riders that comes to the body standing up right with the wind in your face and being so close to the ground means the senses provide, like riding a bike,  a sense of control. 

The general lightness make the overall weight of the escooter plus rider lighter than a lot of ebikes.

Given curves and bends in the road escooters can easily follow the road. Potholes made by cars are easily seen by riders as they are close the ground.