I’m going to get right to the point. I recently purchased an electric scooter and I absolutely love it. LOVE it. I am getting a little tired of people wrinkling their faces and making comments like “I hear those things are making people angry on the west coast” and “I hear they’re so unsafe.”
Don’t get me wrong, the response I’ve been getting from my new UScooters Eco has been very positive. A few years ago I bought a popular EcoReco scooter when it first hit the market, only to find that friends and passers by were often very skeptical. Anecdotally, I find that now, more people I know love the thing and a few have even inquired how they can get their hands on one. Perhaps e-scooters have been de-stigmatized by the popularity of e-scooter share companies like Lime and Bird, and people are finally beginning to understand that these can be useful transit tools instead of simply toys for adults.
Still, the questions abound, referencing the legal battles, street and sidewalk nuisance stories and general safety concerns for a this new form of personal mobility in cities like Minneapolis. I am quick to remind folks that the same concerns were echoed when automobiles hit the streets in the early 1900s. I’m also anxious to point out that while recklessly operated e-scooters can be a nuisance or even a safety concern, there is still no more dangerous vehicle on our streets than cars. Auto crashes killed more than 40,000 people in the US last year, including 6,000 pedestrians and 800 cyclists. While scooters can be misused, the capacity for cars to cause damage (vehicle weight, speed) is exponentially higher than that of any vehicle that shares our right-of-ways.
Back to the good stuff. Having previously owned a first generation EcoReco scooter, I was looking for something lighter and less expensive with a greater range. While my EcoReco weighed 36 pounds and typically topped off at a 12-13 mile range for $1000, my new UScooters Eco weighs about 10 pounds less, has a range of approximately 16-17 miles and costs about 35% less. Furthermore, my new purchase has a rather robust suspension which handles the uneven surfaces of Upstate New York streets. While a tick slower (top speed of about 17-18mph), the Uscooters Eco gets me where I need to go quickly and easily.
In a few years, the technology built into electric scooters has vastly improved. Even EcoReco offers a variety of high-quality scooters that are lighter, include suspension and have a greater range.
The positives are abundant. While it might not be able to tackle off-road conditions like a bike, electric scooters are still very capable when it comes to rough pavement and even sidewalks (I DO NOT recommend riding scooters on sidewalks with a decent amount pedestrian traffic… try to avoid pedestrian encounters wherever possible to ensure pedestrian safety and comfort!).
The most notable plus for e-scooters is their remarkable portability. I often take the bus and use it as a “last mile” connector that’s far faster than walking. I can store it anywhere, travel with it… the sky is the limit for scooters with regard to “multi-modal” transportation. There is nothing that compares with the combination of portability and versatility of an electric scooter.
There are a few drawbacks… the first is that wherever your destination is, you really have to take your scooter inside with you. There really isn’t a place on the body to run a lock around with the exception of the spokes on the wheels. If you’re going to to run a quick errand in a store, you can probably get away with a small lock around the wheel or fork… otherwise, you’re probably going to have to fold it up and take it with you. This is a small inconvenience though, and one that ultimately reduces the chance of theft.
Unfortunately, in many states like New York, e-scooters are technically an unregisterable motorized vehicle and are thus illegal on streets or sidewalks. That being said, I have ridden this machine past countless patrol cars and have not had any issue. I’ve even received a few waves of approval from police officers! I think in general, if you don’t ride like a jerk, people are fine with it.
Finally, even with the suspension, regular riding of distances over 5 miles can make for some slight aches and pains in the legs. No big deal, but there is a vibration factor that is far greater than it is on a bike with inflatable tires as opposed to hard rubber wheels of an e-scooter.
The one thing I can promise you is that the horror stories from the west coast about scooters being annoying death machines are dramatically overrated. The only experiences I have had on this scooter are positive ones. If you’re curious about an e-scooter as a carefree, fun and legitimate short distance transportation option, I highly recommend it. It will change the way you move about your environment for the better!