Is it wise to use a scooter in London?
Navigating the city streets of London can be a challenge for locals and visitors alike. The sheer scope of this urban area makes reliable transport a critical need for everyone, from students to professionals and from tourists to pensioners. But those modes of transportation also have to reflect the diversity of people and their requirements.
There is no one-size-fits-all transport option for a city the size of London.
Two crucial topics that must accompany all transportation conversations are sustainability and accessibility. We cannot discuss whether or not it’s wise to use a scooter in London without reflecting on who that scooter affects and how it impacts the urban environment. We can’t discuss bus routes without asking if they benefit the communities they traverse.
At ScooTours, we believe that micromobility is the answer to many of these transport questions. Whether we’re talking about climate change or vehicle congestion, building strong communities or using new technologies, micromobility can offer solutions.
If you’re unfamiliar with who we are and what we do at ScooTours, we’d love to introduce ourselves. We’re the first company in the UK offering electric scooter tours, from London to Cambridge and beyond. We’re as passionate about British history as we are about sustainability and innovation. Check out our London tours to see where we go and what we’re all about!
For now, we’d like to share some thoughts on whether or not scooters in London are a good idea. Obviously, we’re a bit biased. But we’re also practical and understand the concerns some folks have about micromobility in the city.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
What is micromobility?
Scooters, electric scooters, bicycles, and electric bikes are all examples of micromobility. Using these smaller, independent modes of transportation allows people to get to their destination more quickly without adding to car traffic congestion or pollution.
We like to say that micromobility takes you the final mile. Whether that’s from the Tube station to your office or from your home to the restaurant, these micromobility options mean you can get there faster than walking while still being environmentally-friendly.
They allow you to choose where and when you go, which is more flexible than public transportation like the bus or tube. And they grant better access to communities that lack convenient public transit stations or stops.
We believe that micromobility is the future, especially for urban areas.
Are scooters good for London?
Electric scooters are being trialled in London and in various cities around the UK right now, which has resulted in quite the debate over their use. We know that lots of people in London are sceptical about e-scooters, but we’re hoping to win them over.
While some fear that e-scooters cause more trouble than they create benefits, we like to evaluate their long-term benefits after this trial ends. There are certainly relevant concerns any time a new mode of transportation enters a city. There is no denying the growing pains of nascent use and developing infrastructure.
However, we can always look to case studies where micro-mobility transport has already been successfully tested. Cities around the world have been using a variety of rental systems for micromobility transport for much longer than we have here in the UK.
Docked bikes, dockless e-bikes, scooters, and electric scooters are all available for residents and visitors to countless cities across the US and Europe. Head to Tel Aviv, Rome, Medellin, Washington DC, Sydney, and more and you’ll see these options widely available.
Cities all around the world are tapping into this sustainable, accessible transportation model. So why not also in the UK?
There is always hesitancy in accepting something new. There is also very valid criticism of the lack of bike lanes and of safe road sharing between vehicles and micromobility transport in London, specifically.
Nonetheless, we truly believe these modes of transport allow more people the chance to travel efficiently, affordably, and sustainably. So we believe scooters are here to stay.
Are scooters safe?
There are plenty of pros and cons of electric scooters, which we’ve discussed previously. We conduct safety training before every single tour, whether in London or any other city. And we believe every rider should wear a helmet and should understand the rules and regulations of riding responsibly.
Safety is paramount.
The benefit of privately-owned scooters not being legally allowed on the roads in the UK is the basic safety standards enforced by the rental companies that are providing these shared scooters. Whether you need to agree to in-app information before being able to access your scooter or you have to pass a brief test, we fully support all efforts at promoting safety and responsible ridership.
Unfortunately, accidents are an unavoidable part of transport, whether that’s buses, cars, subways, or bicycles. Every mode of transport can result in accidents. This is usually as a result of mistakes made by drivers, riders, or others sharing the road — including pedestrians.
We lament this fact while also living with it every day. All of us who live in urban areas see the varied use of roads and pavements and we adapt as each new option enters the rotation.
With large populations, we must have equally robust transportation systems in place. But we hope to actually see those options get smaller in size and in their detrimental impact on the environment.
So, is it wise to ride a scooter in London?
In terms of sustainability, it is as wise to use a scooter in London as it is to use a bike or at least another mode of public transport, rather than a personal vehicle. The sharing economy and public-use transport lower the negative impact of transport on the environment.
When discussing affordability and accessibility, we especially believe that these micromobility options offer more people greater access to self-determined schedules and movement. We see an increase in ridership as an opportunity to decrease vehicles, emissions, congestion, and even social isolation.
We believe it’s not only wise to use scooters in London, it’s one of the best options out there!
If you’re keen to try these e-scooters and want to learn quirky history and hear fascinating stories, come join one of our London tours. We’ll make sure you feel safe and confident on your scooter before we head the cycle lanes and paths to explore the city.