(Or: where have I heard that before?)
Over the past 18 months, it feels as though e-scooters have taken over many of the world’s cities. Scooter share firms have staked claims in more than 100 cities worldwide. Lime and Bird (from the US) and Voi, Circ, Flash and Tier (from Europe), are start-ups dripping with venture capital backing, attempting to create and carve up a market that is changing cityscapes everywhere.
But piles of scooters discarded by the roadside, a worrying number of injuries and even some road deaths have provoked a growing backlash in some places.
Those dangers were underscored recently when Emily Hartridge, a 35-year-old YouTuber and TV presenter, was killed while riding an e-scooter in Battersea, south-west London, after a collision with a lorry at a roundabout. Last month Paris – the e-scooter hub of Europe, with an estimated 20,000 trottinettes on the streets – saw its first fatality after a young man was hit by a truck.
So are e-scooters a vital new part of modern, eco-friendly urban transport, or are they a risky and unnecessary fad, pushed by tech investors desperate to disrupt the status quo? And what can people in the UK, where the use of e-scooters remains illegal on both roads and pavements – despite the rise in models for sale in shops – learn from the experience of other European cities?
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