These alternative modes of transport like e-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular, but some safety advocates aren’t sold on them.
A new report from the Associated Press indicates that at least 11 deaths on electric scooters have been recorded in the US since the beginning of 2018 – with nine of those being on a rented scooter owned by app-based services like Lime or Bird. Two of the deaths occurred on scooters the victims owned, AP‘s report says.
Stand-up e-scooters like those from Lime and Bird may be particularly dangerous due to their awkward riding position and dynamics, but relevant data is hard to come by, as they are a relatively new trend. The Center for Disease Control in Austin apparently recorded 192 injuries on e-scooters in a three month period in 2018, with nearly half being head injuries. Because the scooters are rented on the go and are rarely owned, less than 1% of riders wear helmets.
By comparison, GM’s Ariv E-Bike is a sit-down product and isn’t available to rent through an app – it’s sold individually to customers. The fact that it is essentially a traditional bike with an electric motor and features a seat may make it well-suited for rental to the masses one day in the future, though GM has not said if this is part of its plan.
GM’s foray into the e-bike market is a sign of how quickly alternative modes of transport like thios are catching on. The automaker also has an Ariv app that connects to the bike via Bluetooth and displays data like speed, battery level and distance traveled, among more. We imagine this app will be used to collect data on when and how customers use the bikes and where they charge them, giving GM valuable consumer info for any future potential e-bike or e-scooter ventures.
While some have doubts about so many e-bikes and e-scooters sharing the roads with cars in city centers, Bird believes drivers will become more aware of them as they become more commonplace and more companies like GM get in on the market.
“There’s a safety in numbers effect, where the motorists know that there’s people out on the street, so they act accordingly,” said the company’s director of safety policy and advocacy, Paul Steely White.