"Wheelmageddon" - the rise and stall of shared electric scooters | RenewEconomy

“Wheelmageddon” – the rise and stall of shared electric scooters

The latest trend in California’s Silicon Valley – shared electric scooters.


So bike-sharing is taking over the world, e-bikes are a thing, but scooters like the classic Razor are so “naughties”.

Put them all together and you’ve got the latest trend in Silicon Valley (which, for our sins, tends to be where the next new thing in our lives will come from).

And that’s shared electric scooters, of which Bird is the first (and most likely not the last).

Calling itself a “a reliable last mile electric scooter rental service”, it raised US$15m a month ago and now wants $100m more.

And as you might imagine, there’s already been some backlash.

It’s “wheelmageddon” in San Fransisco, and the brown bombers of Santa Monica have them in their sights (and have already settled a $300,000 fine with the company). The usual issues of helmets and riding on footpaths will undoubtedly arise.

Maybe the answer is more of  Tesla-style own-it-but-get-free-charging model – which is already being tried.

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  1. Rod 3 years ago

    I think the clashes with pedestrians will limit these. Sort of too fast for footpaths and not fast or safe enough for the road.
    I’ve noticed a company in Adelaide doing guided tours on Segways. Walking is so old school it seems.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Do the eScooters or your Segways need to be registered?

      • Rod 3 years ago

        I’ve only seen Segways on shared paths and I don’t think I have ever seen a powered scooter on a road so my guess would be no.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      Give it another twenty thousand years and humans will have evolved wheels instead of legs … and TV remotes instead of hands.

  2. Miles Harding 3 years ago

    Here we have it, an electric version of China’s dockless bike hire fiasco.

    See here for a pic of an ENORMOUS pile of discarded bikes:

    In China, the business model only went as far as soliciting funds and manufacturing bikes for the start-up. The game was hoovering up the investor’s funds, so there was no consideration given for a viable business.

    I don’t see this as being very different, with the added bonus that the scooter is unusable when the battery runs down, so will be discarded even more indiscriminately than was the case in China, if that’s possible.

  3. Electric Boogaloo 3 years ago

    The scooters are fantastic for getting around downtown fast. $1 to unlock plus 15c per minute of riding. They do about 30-35km on a charge, which is ample in a city that measures just 12x12km.

    The other weekend we gave them a try and rode a couple from the Ferry Building to the Golden Gate Bridge and back, which was round trip of 18km. I’ve used them a few times again during the week since when heading out for lunch. Pretty cool to be able to zip over to North Beach from SoMa for a couple of dollars.

    This is the future for getting around downtown – faster than walking and driving/uber/lyft/taxi, cheap as chips and much more convenient than having your own bicycle which you have to worry about being vandalised or stolen.

    Just not really good for winter when it’s raining, but then that’s no good for walking or cycling either so it’s kind of a moot point.

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