Electric scooters – they’re a hot topic. You either love them or hate them. Once a niche techboy toy now a global sensation that happened almost overnight. Cities across the world responded to the will of the people introducing legislation to integrate e scooters into the very fabric of their streets.
In the UK we too have witnessed a takeover likened to that of the Vespas in the 60s, yet personally owned electric scooters are still illegal to ride on public roads.
In this video I took to the streets of East London, where e scooters have boomed in popularity, to understand why people are choosing to buy them and what the future holds.
Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 was an unprecedented year causing many to rethink how they moved about the city. East London borough Newham was particularly hard hit, recording some of the highest death rates in the UK during the first wave.
Personal Electric Transport, a local e-scooter retailer in the area, recorded a significant boom in sales, noting that people were looking for viable solutions for independent travel. Buses and trains weren’t safe, but there were people that still had to travel to work and the electric scooter was their answer to that.
To date, electric scooters can only be legally used on public roads if hired through a rental company set up through a local trial. The government fast-tracked legislation in June 2020 in response to the pandemic to allow e scooter companies to roll out fleets under strict surveillance of local councils. However, privately owned scooters were not included. Instead, they must only be ridden on private property with permission from the owner. But that didn’t stop the rise in e scooter sales jumping up by an astonishing 450% at Halfords in October 2020 alone.
Talking to a mix of individuals at PET (Personal Electric Transport) and on the streets of Stratford it’s clear that everybody has witnessed a huge shift to micro mobility in recent times and there’s mixed feelings about it. I cover the concerns over safety, how they’re being policed and where we think the future of electric scooters are headed.
Spoiler alert – they aren’t going anywhere!