Young men only use e-scooters for fun, study says

Is this proof e-scooters ARE just big boys’ toys? Young men only use them for fun, study says, despite eco-warrior claims of a green revolution

  • E-scooters are used mainly by young men for fun, new research has suggested 
  • Research was based on e-scooter hire scheme in Paris which began in June 2018
  • The study found they were used mainly by highly educated men aged 18 to 29

They were hailed as a key part of the green transport revolution, but e-scooters are used mainly by young men for fun, new research has suggested.

The electric-powered scooters are also being used instead of walking or cycling rather than as an alternative to driving polluting cars.

The findings will raise suspicions that the scooters are little more than ‘boys’ toys’ and reignite concerns over their links to street crime and accidents involving pedestrians.

The electric-powered scooters are also being used instead of walking or cycling rather than as an alternative to driving polluting cars

The research was based on the e-scooter hire scheme in Paris, which began in June 2018 and has now grown to a fleet of 20,000 machines. 

The study found that they were used mainly by highly educated men aged 18 to 29. 

Sixty-four per cent said they never used one to commute, while 63 per cent said they did not use it to shop.

By contrast, 72 per cent said they used an e-scooter for leisure while the same percentage had shifted from walking or public transport.

Just six per cent said they were replacing a journey that would otherwise have been made by a taxi, and only four per cent said they had chosen to use an e-scooter, which has a top speed of 15.5mph, over a car.

Sixty-four per cent said they never used one to commute, while 63 per cent said they did not use it to shop

Sarah Leadbetter, a campaigner at the National Federation of the Blind, said e-scooters made walking down the street ‘a terrifying ordeal’ for the visually impaired.

‘This research from Paris confirms my suspicion that rentable e-scooters are taking people away from being active and using public transport, while creating chaos and unsafe situations for pedestrians,’ she said.

As part of trials being held by the Department for Transport, rental e-scooters are legal on roads in 25 areas in the UK, but elsewhere private use remains illegal and they cannot be used in public spaces.

Ms Leadbetter said: ‘The rentable e-scooter trials in the UK are also showing that riders are not adhering to the rules of use, including riding on pavements.’

Rachel White, head of public affairs at the walking and cycling charity Sustrans, said e-scooters still had the potential to reduce congestion and improve air quality in cities but feared they might replace trips that would otherwise be ‘walked, cycled, taken by kick scooters or by public transport’. 

The Metropolitan Police last year warned they were increasingly being used by muggers and drug dealers.

One of the report’s authors, Zoi Christoforou, Assistant Professor at the University of Patras, Greece, said: ‘E-scooters do not attract, at least for the moment, typical car-user profiles. But we found a total substitution of motorised (private cars, taxis, Uber) of ten per cent, which is far from being negligible. This percentage can rise if appropriate incentives are offered.’

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