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Continued Efforts for Both Safe and Sustainable Micromobility

More and more actors are working on making micromobility modes safer to use. Beam Mobility launched its e-scooter service in Auckland with qualified trainers and instructions for riders to run e-scooters safely on Auckland’s streets [1]. Autoliv has been designing and testing airbags to prevent severe head injuries of scooter users in a crash with a car [2].

Beam Mobility made its premier in Auckland with the Beam Safe Academy, a program that aims to offer tangible support in teaching people to ride safely on the roads and use scooters responsibly. Besides the comprehensive plan for safety, Beam also introduced its new Beam Saturn Scooter. The Beam Saturn, with a new dual-braking system, rigid aluminium frame, and 10-inch tires, has proven to withstand the tough sharing environment and promises to be able to keep the riders safe. Beam claims that they are the only e-scooter provider that offers accident insurance to the riders.

Autoliv, a well-known automotive safety supplier, has also come up with a solution that can potentially protect e-scooter riders in crashes with a car. The airbag solution that they brought to the world was proven able to reduce severe head injuries that happened in a significant amount of e-scooter accidents [2].    

Besides all the attempts to improve safety, Lime is determined to make their fleets zero-emission by 2030. Being the first of its kind to make this pledge, Lime will have to go fossil fuel-free with its 350 vehicles that are currently in use for redistributing its e-scooters and e-bikes. The company aims to hit the goal of pure electric fleets by 2030 and has been offsetting its emissions since 2018 [3]. 

 

Personal Comments

As micromobility has become one of the major transport modes to help people tackle their daily commute, the number of vulnerable road users increases. Education seems reasonable to offer to first-time users and the airbag would likely minimize injuries; However, a more disruptive infrastructural improvement might still be needed to make vulnerable road users safer. I personally find the idea of using airbags rather than helmets to protect riders, quite remarkable. This probably won't save you from a sour knee, but in waiting of better infrastructure to be built, I see a good chance of it saving the lives of users who just happen to not have a helmet when the need for using a scooter comes up.

The use of fossil fuel-powered transport modes to redistribute e-scooters has been a weak point for the scooter suppliers, especially after the report from North Carolina State University stating significant environmental impacts from this process. Lime might be the first to make the promise but definitely not the only supplier to come up with the idea of being fossil-fuel free in the operation. It will definitely be worth the effort to follow up on how Lime, and other suppliers, do in the near future.  

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE.

 

Sources

1. 2020-02-05. Beam e-scooter launch in Auckland “it’s all about safety”.

2. 2020-01-31. Autoliv performs first crash test of an e-scooter airbag.

3. 2020-02-07. Lime pledges zero-emission operations fleet by 2030.