September 24, 2019

Scooter World: Vienna

From John Graham:

We’re in Vienna and electric scooters are everywhere, and you only have to look at this Google mapping to see that they’re just as fast and a third of the cost of Uber.


Peter Ladner was there too – and captured this vignette of scooter life in Vienna:

Scooter Vienna 2.jpg

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    1. Actually, it looks like a combination of tram and subway with a transfer is the fastest. Nonetheless, that’s a lot faster than the all subway route which is the slowest.

      This is the point that all the pro-subway people miss. Yes they travel faster. No that doesn’t mean the trip is faster. Often the opposite. Subways have their place. But if we rely on them and forego two to three times the tram/LRT that could be built in their place we lose. And for many more reasons than speed.

  1. Scooters work for a few km, maybe 1-2. After that it is tiring to hold on plus you cannot bring anything with you except a tiny backpack. Also very wobbly and VERY HIGH accident rate. A toy. Fun and novel for now, but in short order most cities will outlaw them,

    Consider other more robust options for “the last mile” that includes longevity and stability, such as trikes or scooters with 4 wheels, a bag for stuff and a saddle.

  2. Thomas, there’s no need to be fearful of scooters for any of the reasons you mention. Have a read of this article, highly applicable to many of your areas of interest:

    Further to your thoughts:

    – For one-way urban commutes of 0-5km, scooters would provide the ~50% of people who would like to bike more often but don’t for a variety of reasons a highly viable alternative, not to mention all those who don’t use transit or walk – based on factors covered in that Medium article.

    – Just spitballing, based on my understanding of health indicators in the general population, but likely the vast majority of average people under 60 are unlikely to have an issue with arm fatigue; strength isn’t a factor for these short trips. (the words ‘strong’, ‘weak’, ‘fatigue’, ‘tired’, or ‘pain’ don’t appear once in that Medium article)

    – The idea of outlawing something that provides cities such a high degree of utility — not to mention all the social and individual benefits — is eerily similar to the protestations made against cycling for about 40-50 years. The smart money is on an increase in choices like scooters, and that other cities will follow Vancouver’s example of carefully but steadily enabling them (in some cases providing them, like Mobi), and the rest of the “stuff” needed for them to stick for the long-term.

    Vancouver’s coming Big Moves will result in, among many other things, revolutionized transportation policies and retrofitting of our streets and communities to accommodate these options, and possibly within your lifetime.

    Or, to paraphrase the Life cereal ad from the old days: “Try it – you might like it.”

    1. I tried then 3x in three cities, and I generally liked the idea BUT being very agile I too almost crashed (1). You cannot signal (2) and you can’t carry anything (3). Since they are quiet pedestrians don’t hear them (4) and they go too fast for sidewalks (5) – ie too dangerous for folks sharing the sidewalk. Those alone are FIVE huge drawbacks. They may work on dedicated bike lanes, but it gets tiring after a while, unlike a bike.

      Scooters with a saddle AND a basket may survive as they cater to a wider demographic. Just like skateboards, or now e-skateboards, they cater to a small, mainly young and agile demographic ONLY such as this one

      So, yes, we will see them but not in the pervasive ubiquitous manner envisioned by city planners.

      I also like the covered, sharable e-trike coming to Vancouver as a trial soon !

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