Who Invented the Scooter?

Author: Ruby

May. 13, 2024

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Tags: Automobiles & Motorcycles

Who Invented the Scooter?

Scooters didn't just start as an alternative ride for popping tricks in the skatepark, in fact, they've been around for a really long time. These days it's quite common for people to own all manner of electric scooters and even electric mopeds, but who invented the scooter?

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Most people will associate push scooters with kids' toys, especially those retro-looking ones, but electric scooters are gaining traction. The rise in electric scooters is phenomenal over the past decade, which is particularly obvious if you live in a city like Los Angeles or Amsterdam.

We thought it would be interesting to look back and see who first invented them, and how they evolved from the first heavy wooden contraptions to the near-silent and lightweight electrified transportation that we see today.

Where did the motorized scooter come from?

If you go back fifteen or so years, electric scooters, rideshares, and e-bikes weren't even terms in our vocabulary. They may seem like a totally new invention, but it’s shortsighted to think that scooters and micro-mobility options in general only appeared lately on the scene to clutter up city streets and crumple into a pile of broken rentals.

The first instances of scooter production were not motorized scooters at all, but the wooden varieties used mostly by children to get around their neighborhoods, well over a hundred years ago.

The wooden kick scooter

The invention of the wooden kick scooter came sometime towards the end of the 19th century, at a similar time to when motorized scooters were invented. The first scooter designs came with skate wheels and frames carved out of wood, nailed together at the base with handlebars that slotted into the upright bar.

The design was relatively crude but the scooter promised to provide its rider with a very effective form of personal transportation and meant that people could make or even buy scooters for a cheap price. These designs were so easy to make that many children built them out of recycled wood leftover from production in the factories. This made them eco-friendly before the term was even used!

Why scooters became so popular

There was a small surge in popularity between 1915 and 1922 for both kick scooters and electric scooters, as they served to revolutionize short trips. This wasn't exclusively for scooters though, as manual and motorized bikes also started to rise in popularity too.

These forms of transport meant that any manner of trip could be sped up by up to five or six times, regardless of what sector or industry you work in or where you had to go. There are photographs from this period of doctors, students, grocers, chemists, repairmen, messengers, and people from just about any other job riding scooters.

Back in those days, people with their own scooters saved themselves time and energy on getting around, which is the same as today. These days electric scooter riders also have the added benefits of saving money and being more eco-friendly than other modes of transportation, especially cars.

To really understand the history of the scooter, we need to take a look at the first motorized scooter to grace the streets of America, which came in the form of the world-renowned Autoped, and gave rise to what would later be known as the first scooter boom.

The invention of the Autoped

Electric-powered bikes have been around for at least as long as the car, with the first patent for one being filed in the state of Ohio as early as 1895 by inventor Ogden Bolten Jr.

Twenty years later in 1915, a New-York company called Autoped launched the first commercial product that somewhat resembles the electric kick scooters of today. It was called the Autoped and was originally invented by Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson.

This was probably the first motorized scooter and it actually ran on gas so was more of a motor scooter than an electric scooter, but it looked similar.

Ironically, the Autoped was a form of personal transportation partly popularized by New York Traffic police, and with a large engine mounted on the frame could reach speeds of 25mph. However, one of the main marketing posters depicted the Autoped Girl, with the slogan "Something new in transportation" on a banner across the bottom.

Whether it was the marketing campaign or the actual promise of the product, it garnered wide popularity and spread across the Western World, eventually being produced in Germany.

There's even a black and white picture of Lady Florence Norman, one of the Suffragettes, riding her Autoped to work in London in 1916. Changing the world on a world-changing form of transportation, you can't get more progressive than that.

Features of the Autoped

The gas-powered, two-wheeled, folding scooter marketed itself as the “motor vehicle of the millions,” getting 125 miles to the gallon and “a price so low that almost everybody can afford one.” That wasn’t exactly true, but they were definitely cheaper than four-wheeled motor vehicles, and a hundred dollars went quite a lot farther in the 1910s and 20s than it does today.

The Autoped was well designed for the time though, with 10-inch tires and an air-cooled, 4-stroke, 155cc engine on its front wheel and could reportedly reach speeds of up to 35mph.

The rider pushed the steering mechanism forward to engage the clutch and apply force to a handlebar lever to control speed. To stop the scooter, the rider would pull back on the steering column, which would activate the Autoped’s brake. Not the safest method of braking by today's standards, but certainly an effective one.

One of the features that really set the Autoped apart though was that it was a foldable scooter. The Autoped’s steering rod was collapsible to make it more convenient for storing in tight spaces, and with the rise in smaller houses to accommodate the industrial revolution, this was a popular design feature.

The original model weighed in at over 100 pounds, however, so unlike the Unagi Model One, it was hardly portable, just as it was not particularly affordable. But like the electric scooter has done today, it surpassed initial expectations, and it ended up appealing to a diverse range of users.

Even though it was quite expensive, meaning that it wasn't easily accessible for everyone, it was a very popular choice of transport for work vehicles. In New York alone, the Autoped was ridden by delivery men, postal workers, and New York City traffic cops, which is quite a hard picture to imagine in today's age. The Autoped also arrived at a time of significant political reform and increasing mobility, literally and figuratively, for women.

Why the Autoped became so popular

The vehicle became a symbol of women’s empowerment during the Progressive era, allowing people to get around without the need for a driver or more importantly, a car. British humor magazine Puck ran an advertisement with a lady speeding along on an Autoped. “Look out for the Autoped girl,” it read.

The famous Suffragette Florence Priscilla was famously photographed on her Autoped, and she wasn't the only one. The scooter’s feminist image persisted even as it evolved for specialized use at military bases, airports, and Hollywood studio lots, and other manufacturers were desperate to follow the Autoped’s lead.

The development of electric scooters

Pretty soon after the first motor scooters started hitting the streets, copycats and variants started popping up all over North America and Europe. The great depression slowed innovation in the US, but other companies started engineering them in Europe, particularly Germany and the UK.

One of the first popular alternatives came in the form of ABC Motorcycles' Skootamota, created in Britain. Whilst it had a lower top speed of 15mph, it boasted a seat, which paved the way for modern motor scooters of today like the iconic Vespa scooters we see all over the place. This made it the most popular scooter in production following the end of World War I.

Other notable varieties were the Gloster Aircraft Company's Reynolds Runabout, which launched in 1919, and was hastily followed by their Unibus model in 1920, which they promoted in posters and on the radio as the "two-wheeled car".

A lot of these models from the early days of scooter production were somewhat unstable, uncomfortable, and could be difficult to handle too. The twenty years or so between World War I and World War II saw many new features and refinements introduced to scooters.

These included gears and suspension for riding performance, lights and better braking systems for handling, and even enclosed body and leg shields, which haven't continued in popularity today.

Moving onto the electric scooter

One of the most famous pictures of the early electric scooters was of famous female pilot, Amelia Earhart, who had several photos taken of her with her Autoped in the 1930s, including a photograph taken in 1935 with her student June Travis. The photograph was captured the day she received her first flying lesson.

Improvements in production, quality of materials, and engineering knowledge combined to create faster, lighter, and more efficient scooters in all manner of varieties. E-scooters only really came into the limelight in the last decade or two as electric motor technology improved and the need for eco-friendly travel solutions became more pressing to the commuter.

image credit: Micro Mobility Systems

Wim Outboter's Kickboard

In 1990, one of the most important developments in the non-motorized kick-scooter field came in the form of the Kickboard. Swiss engineer Wim Ouboter invented a lightweight, portable model of the scooter in 1990, legend has it to cover the last mile between his home and the local bratwurst shop in Zurich.

Although his first creation quickly became an afterthought, Outboter persisted, creating a three-wheeled scooter—the Kickboard—which he revealed at the International Sports Fair in Munich in 1998.

The incredible success of the Kickboard launched Outboter’s Micro Mobility Systems in 1999, which manufactured his 2-wheeled concept. This new scooter model was marketed as the "Razor" and it experienced instant success and worldwide popularity.

This facilitated the first real scooter boom and paved the way for the everyday scooters we see kids and adults pushing themselves around our cities on today.

The modern electric scooter

In 2003, the hugely popular Razor brand came up with a new prototype that came equipped with an electric motor, though it didn't massively take off. The story of the modern electric scooter begins after 2009. This is when Lithium-ion battery technology advanced so far it was able to be fitted into micromobility vehicles, allowing users to charge their scooters at home.

We can't talk about the modern electric scooter without mentioning the crash and burn of the overhyped Segway. An electric, self-balancing, (and very expensive) two-wheeled device developed by Dean Kamen, utilising Plymouth University’s “iBOT'' self-balancing wheelchair design.

Segways are arguably a form of electric scooter, but they don't provide the ease of access and safety of more conventional scooter designs, which is probably why you don't see rideshares for Segways.

The hype around micromobility vehicles faded after this for a few years until American businessman Shan Chen, launched his latest invention, a self-balancing Hoverboard.

An instant hit with celebrities, the Hoverboard gained overnight global popularity in 2015, spawning an incalculable number of copycat designs. A lack of standards and quality assurance meant this vehicle that was more of a gimmick than a reliable transport device.

But these developments did lead the way for the modern electric scooter, as people began to see a cheap, reliable, and safe method of personal transportation. And to begin with (for better or worse) you didn't even need a driver's license to ride one!

The electric scooters of today

Rather than appearing out of nowhere in droves on our street corners, the modern electric scooter is instead the product of over 100 years of research, development, and real-world testing by inventors, engineers, and commuters.

The Unagi Model One electric scooter is a lightweight aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber commuter scooter with a 20 mph max speed and a weight of only 28.5 lbs, a fraction of the first Autoped's weight.

With one-click folding technology, 800 watts of power, and a maximum range of 15.5 miles, it is one of the leading electric scooter options on the market today, popular all over the globe.

Made to be ridden, neatly folded, and carried into your home or place of work, this scooter is the result of all technological and aesthetic progress in the electric scooter world, that has gone before it.

If you think you might be up for trying out an electric scooter but aren't quite sure if it's for you, try the Unagi All-Access pass. Unagi will deliver a top-of-the-range freshly serviced Model One scooter to your door for only $49 a month, with insurance included for peace of mind.

Motorized scooter

Powered stand-up scooter

This article is about powered stand-up scooters. For scooters with seats, see Scooter (motorcycle) . For other uses, see Scooter

An electric kick scooter

A motorized scooter is a stand-up scooter powered by either a small internal combustion engine or electric hub motor in its front and/or rear wheel. Classified as a form of micro-mobility,[1] they are generally designed with a large center deck on which the rider stands. The first motorized scooter was manufactured by Autoped in 1915.[2][3]

Recently, electric kick scooters (e-scooters) have grown in popularity with the introduction of scooter-sharing systems that use apps to allow users to rent them by the minute; such systems are commonly found in the U.S and in Queensland, Australia.

History

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1919 Autoped Scooter A child on a smaller e-scooter, 2011

"E-scooter" redirects here. For electric motorcycles or mopeds, see Electric motorcycles and scooters

Electric kick scooters have surpassed internal combustion-engined scooters in popularity since 2000.[9] They usually have two wheels between 8 and 11 inches (20–28 cm) in diameter, one or both of which are fitted with an electric motor, connected by a platform on which the rider stands, with a handlebar for support and steering. The use of an electric motor makes gears unnecessary, and may support energy recovery by regenerative braking. Range and speed vary considerably according to model. One reference shows ranges of 3 to 220 km (2 to 137 mi), and maximum speeds from 19 to 120 km/h (12 to 75 mph).[10]

In 2017, some bicycle-sharing companies such as Lime, and some scooter-only companies such as Bird, began offering dockless electric kick scooter sharing services. This segment of the micro-mobility market made large inroads in 2018, with numerous dockless e-scooters appearing in major cities worldwide,[11] sometimes in controversial and contentious unsanctioned roll-outs, such as in San Francisco.[12] Different jurisdictions have their own rules regulating electric kick scooter use on public roads and footways.[13]

Overview

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Scooters of several operators in Stockholm City scooters in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland

Usage

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Motorized kick scooters are used in law enforcement, security patrolling[14][15] and leisure. New ride-sharing systems have made e-scooters easily accessible. They are popular in urban areas and are used as an alternative to bicycling or walking.[16] Ride sharing companies first started dropping these scooters off in large US cities in 2018, and the need for short distance easy access transportation in many cities has meant that they have become increasingly popular with more and more companies looking to join the market.[17]

Environment

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E-scooters, and other electric vehicles, have the potential to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which are a cause of global warming, and other pollutants, if they are used to replace travel in vehicles with internal combustion engines. Potential environmental benefits depend upon how scooters are used: if they replace car journeys they may be beneficial, but not if they replace walked or cycled journeys. Manufacture of the batteries, in particular, requires resources, and they are often not recycled. Lime estimated that globally one in four trips on its scooters replaced a car journey.[18] A December 2021 Swiss research paper[19] found that privately owned e-scooters tended to replace car journeys, but rented e-scooters emitted more CO2 than the transport modes they replaced.[20]

Safety

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E-scooters are a potentially environmentally friendly alternative personal mode of transportation that has appeal in urban settings and for short distances. However, they are not exempt from the vulnerabilities users may encounter in road traffic injuries similar to exposures pedestrians and bicyclists have shared the roads.[21] For example, Israel has seen over 120,000 imports of e-bike and e-scooters over a two-year period, but due to poor cycling infrastructure, cyclists are often forced onto pedestrian sidewalks, and pedestrians use bike lanes and thus increase the risk of traffic collision.[22] A 2022 review of medical notes found that injury rates due to e-scooters were more like those of motorcycles than bicycles.[23][20]

As availability and demand for e-scooters increases, with more powerful versions capable of reaching up to 50 miles per hour, the number of traffic accident cases has increased. Israel witnessed a six-fold increase of e-bike and e-scooter accidents over a span of three years, and China found a four-fold increase in injury rate and a six-fold increase in mortality rates.[22] However, significant gaps remain in the knowledge about the safety measures and impact of e-scooters. A particular cause of accidents is the instability of vehicles with such small wheels when, for example, hitting a pothole.

The site of a car–scooter collision in New York City

As e-scooters become more popular in urban and high traffic settings, user safety poses a major concern alongside other health risks for drivers,[clarification needed] pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children sharing the road. A study conducted in China assessed risky behaviors of e-bike, e-scooter, and bicycle riders at crossing signalized intersections and found three different types of risky behaviors including stopping beyond the stop line, riding in motor lanes, and riding against traffic.[24] A study of 2014-2020 UCLA-affiliated hospitals and outpatient center visits found that e-scooter injury rates in Greater Los Angeles area were similar to those of motorcycles, with about 33% of victims needing extensive follow-up care. However, the fatality rate was comparable to pedal bikes.[25]

The same study found that those riding e-scooters are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. In specific, e-scooter riders were more likely to ride in motor lanes and ride against the flow of traffic through there is high variability in the types of accidents that occur and can vary based on time of day.[24] Underreporting poses as additional gaps in knowledge, as minor crashes, for example, tend to be underreported and thus unaccounted for in overall e-scooter injury prevalence [26] and there exist gaps in research on injuries related to e-scooters.[21] Scooter-sharing systems such as Lime or Bird include safety precautions on the scooters themselves, such as: "helmet required, license required, no riding on sidewalks, no double riding, 18+ years old". Apps used to unlock and rent the scooters will also have safety reminders and ask the riders to abide by local laws while using them. However, these recommendations are not always followed, and the difference in laws between cities and states makes regulation difficult.

A consumer association in Belgium tested e-scooters, concluding that a bicycle was preferable, citing many problems with the devices, including in particular battery failure and very poor braking in wet conditions. E-scooters were regulated as toys, without the safety considerations required for vehicles.[27]

When electric kick scooters were introduced in Norway, the media reported a high increase in accidents,[28] including several deaths.[29][30]

In Britain as of late 2021 privately owned e-scooters could not be used on public roads or footways; during a trial from mid-2020 until late 2022 rental scooters could be used on roads, but not footways, by users with an appropriate driving licence. At the time private scooters were widely used, illegally, on footways and roads. There were safety concerns—scooter accidents were causing injuries more like motorcycles than pedal cycles.[31][better source needed] Privately owned scooters were banned from carriage on London public transport after a spate of battery fires.[31]

Regulation

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Electric kick scooter national speed limit in Europe since 1 October 2023

 

 25km/h

 

 20km/h

 

 No Data

Australia

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E-scooters with bicycle helmets in Canberra during 2020

In Queensland, the laws around the use of e-scooters and other personal mobility devices are made and enforced by the state government.[32][33]

While some local governments in Queensland have not allowed Lime Scooter trials, Brisbane City Council is currently undertaking a Lime Scooter trial and has invited tenders for two scooter contracts in the city.

In the ACT, the framework for personal mobility devices was amended to include e-scooters and other similar devices from 20 December 2019, permitting use on footpaths, shared paths, bicycle paths and the bicycle side of separated paths. Bicycle helmets are required to be worn.[34]

Perth became the latest City to announce an escooter trial, which launched in March 2023.

Austria

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Electric vehicles with a power up to 600 watts and a speed up to 25 km/h are considered as bicycles.[35][36]

Belgium

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Belgium's traffic rules were updated on 1 June 2019 to be in line with the European Commission guidelines formed in 2016.[37] It became legal for people over 15 years of age to ride electric motorised scooters with speed limited to 25 km/h on public roads, mirroring e-bikes. Protective gear and insurance are not required by law.[38]

Canada

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Commuting in Canada with an e-scooter has increased. As power-assisted bicycles, e-scooters must follow many of the same federal laws and regulations, such as being limited to 32 km/h and not being allowed over 500 W output.[39] Ontario has recently unveiled a series of laws aimed at ensuring safety while using electric-kick scooters or, e-scooters. The new laws require all riders to carry a valid driver’s license, and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult who also carries a valid driver’s license. Riders are now also required to wear an approved helmet when operating their e-scooter and have bright lights installed on the front and back of their vehicles.[40]

Denmark

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Since 1 January 2022, helmets are mandatory.[41]

Finland

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In Finland e-scooters have the same rules with bicycles[42] and they do not have any age restrictions.[43] However, all e-scooters that have a maximum speed over 25 km/h are classified as small motorcycles and require a motor insurance.[43]

France

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Currently France only allows e-scooters on footpaths if they have a maximum speed of 6 kilometres per hour (3.7 mph). Those travelling at up to 25 km/h are relegated to bike lanes. Legislators are considering a new law that would force users of e-scooters going faster than 25 kilometres per hour (16 mph) to have a type A1 license—the same as for small motorcycles. The legal framework is very blurry and does not define where e-scooters may or may not be driven or parked. The Deputy Mayor of Paris Christophe Najdovski is lobbying Transport Minister Élisabeth Borne for a clearer framework that would give municipalities the power to tighten the rules on how permits are issued and how authorizations are given to deploy a fleet of e-scooters to operators.[44]

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French daily newspaper Le Parisien found that in 2017, e-scooters and roller skates combined caused 284 injuries and five deaths in France, a 23 percent increase on the previous year.[45] The perception of e-scooters is that they are fast, silent and therefore dangerous, causing many accidents, and the need to legislate is urgent.[44]


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In an April 2023 referendum, voters in Paris chose to remove e-scooters from the city after the current vendor contracts expire.[46] The ban applies to rental scooters which have been offered by several operators since 2018, although people will still be able to use privately-owned contraptions.[47]

Germany

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Sign prohibiting the riding or carrying of micro electric vehicles

In April 2019, the "electric propulsion vehicles without seats" and mono-wheels were added to the regulatory list of vehicles allowed to circulate in the streets. However, the list has yet to be submitted to the upper house of Parliament for entry into force.

The regulation makes a distinction between vehicles restricted to 12 km/h, authorized to users aged from 12 years up and which may circulate on footpaths, and those restricted to 20 km/h, restricted to cycle paths, users over 14 years old and with compulsory motor vehicle insurance and number plate.[48] There is no driving license needed.[49] Crash accident are under-reported (74% missing) when counted as declaration to police rather than to the hospital.[41]

The same rules for operating an automobile while intoxicated also apply to electric kick scooters.[50]

Ireland

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The use of e-scooters and mono-wheels has exploded in Irish urban areas in recent years, with estimated more than 2,000 e-scooters regularly traveling the roads of Dublin.

Under existing road traffic legislation, the use of an e-scooter on public roads is not permitted. According to the Road Traffic Act 1961, all e-scooters are considered to be "mechanically propelled vehicles". Anyone using a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place must have insurance, road tax, and a driving license. However, it is currently not possible to tax or insure e-scooters or electric skateboards.

In March 2019, e-scooter owners started reporting that the Irish police force, the Garda Síochána, had begun regularly seizing e-scooters on the grounds that the owner did not have insurance.[51] This was despite a Freedom of Information request detailing that the Garda website displayed incorrect information to the public, detailing that e-scooters requiring human power to start would not be considered mechanically propelled vehicles and, as such, would fall outside the remit requiring insurance.[52] The owner groups, such as eScoot.ie, have been publicly vocal, attracting media attention and urging e-scooter owners to sign a petition for lawmakers to legalize the public use of "electric rideables" in Ireland.[53] Under growing pressure, the Minister for Transport Shane Ross asked the Road Safety Authority to research how e-scooters are regulated in other countries, particularly other EU member states. A decision is to be taken on whether or not to amend existing legislation.[54] In August 2019 the Road Safety Authority submitted a report on the use of e-scooters to Ross. The report is broadly in favour of e-scooters, however a number of significant safety concerns were raised. The Minister have announced a two-month public consultation starting on 1 September 2019.[55] The main areas of the consultation cover what personal protective equipment should be used, what training should be provided, what safety or certification standards devices should meet, what age restrictions should apply and where the devices can be used publicly.

In February 2021 Communications Minister Eamon Ryan approved draft legislation which will "regularise" e-scooters and electric bikes as commonly accepted means of transport under proposed new vehicle category, to be known as "Powered Personal Transporters" (PPTs), which will not require road tax, insurance or driving license.[56]

Japan

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Japan is removing in July 2023 the requirement for escooter riders to have a driver's license. Scooters can be ridden on pavements where bicycles are allowed as long as they are slower than 6 kph and flash a green light.[57]

Netherlands

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The use of e-scooters remains illegal after a fatal electric cart incident in 2018.[58]

New Zealand

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E-scooters in central Christchurch, New Zealand

E-scooters in New Zealand are classed as a 'Low-powered vehicle that does not require registration', provided that the output power is under 300 watts.[59] They can therefore be ridden on footpaths, roads and separated cycleways. They cannot be ridden on paint-defined cycleways on the road. Helmets are not required, but recommended.

Norway

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In Norway, e-scooters are classed as bicycles, and can therefore be ridden on footpaths, roads and separated cycleways as well as paint-defined cycleways on the road. Maximum speed is restricted to 20 km/h. Maximum weight of the e-scooter, including the battery, must not exceed 70 kg. Maximum width must not exceed 85 cm and maximum length is 120 cm. There is no age restriction or requirement to wear a helmet.[60]

Helmets for children up to 15 years are mandatory since spring 2022.[41]

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is limited to 0.2 gram per liter as for car drivers.[41]

Poland

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Electric kicks scooter in Poland

Following a court case, a new provision of the Road Traffic Act came into force as of 21 April 2019, whereby an e-scooter falls under the definition of a moped[61] (power up to 4 kW, max speed 45 km/h). Therefore, such vehicles are not allowed to ride on the footpaths as well as bicycle lanes. However, due to the lack of homologation, it is not possible to register an e-scooter as a road vehicle, which makes it illegal for the use on the road. The legislators are now working on changes to the law to introduce the definition of the Personal Transport Device, which would allow e-scooters to be used on footpaths and bicycle lanes.[62]

From May 20, 2021, the regulations on the traffic of e-scooters are in force.[63] An e-scooter is an electric powered vehicle, two-axle, with a steering wheel, without a seat and without pedals, designed to be driven only by the rider on that vehicle.

To drive an e-scooter on the road by people aged 10 to 18, it is required to have the same qualifications as for cycling, i.e. a bicycle card or driving license of categories AM, A1, B1 or T. For people over 18 years, such a document is not required.[64]

Singapore

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E-scooters in Singapore are categorized as Personal Mobility Devices (PMD), and as such, are subjected to the Land Transport Authority's regulations. All e-scooter owners are required to register their devices with the Land Transport Authority and affix the registration number on their scooter. E-scooters that are not registered by 1 July 2019 will have their devices seized by the authorities and the offender would be liable for punishment.

E-scooters sold in Singapore have to comply with a strict set of regulations; maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour (16 mph), must not exceed 70 cm in width & must not weigh more than 20 kg. Retailers are allowed to sell non-compliant e-scooters however they have to indicate clearly that they can only be used on private property or for use overseas.

Unlike electric bicycles, e-scooters can only be ridden on footpaths and cycling paths. They are not allowed to be ridden on public roads.

Spain

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E-scooters' recurring role in traffic accidents has led to a regulatory pushback in Spain. There have been reported 273 accidents, three of which were fatal in 2018. Spanish legislators are working on a regulation banning e-scooters from footpaths and limiting their speed to 25 kilometres per hour (16 mph).[44]

The first ever person hit by e-scooter died in Spain in August 2019. A 92-year-old woman fell and struck her head to the pavement when an e-scooter hit her, travelling at less than 10 kilometres per hour (6.2 mph).[65]

Spain is introducing technical standards and mandatory helmets.

Turkey

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E-scooters can be used on cycle paths, and on urban roads without cycle paths where the speed limit is below 50 kph.[66]

United Kingdom

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Privately owned e-scooters are deemed to be Personal Light Electric Vehicles, subject to legal requirements regarding MOT testing, tax, and licensing. In practice they cannot be made to meet the requirements for road use, and they also may not be used on footways.[67] In some trial areas from mid-2020 to November 2022,[31] rental e-scooters may be ridden on roads and cycle lanes but not footways; riders must be 16 or over and have a driving licence. Using a phone, driving under the influence of alcohol, and other risks, are not allowed, as for other motor vehicles.[67][68] Action is not usually taken against users of private scooters on roads and footways, but in December 2021 West Midlands Police announced that they had seized and destroyed 140 e-scooters.[69] In July 2023, the police and crime commissioner for Kent called on police to seize and crush all e-scooters being ridden on public land.[70]

In 2022 a woman riding a rental scooter erratically while over the legal limit for alcohol pleaded guilty to drink-driving. She had not known that it was an offence, but was fined, and banned from driving for 18 months.[71]

Deaths

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The first UK fatality involving an e-scooter occurred on 12 July 2019 when 35-year-old Emily Hartridge was killed in Battersea, London in a collision on a roundabout with a truck. London's cycling commissioner said that "new regulations must be put forward quickly" as e-scooters are "currently not safe—with no restrictions on speeds, no mandatory brakes and lights, and no rules on who can ride them and where".[72]

The first death of a pedestrian hit by an e-scooter occurred on 8 June 2022, when the 71-year old victim died in hospital after being impacted by a 14-year old scooter-riding male on 2 June.[73][74]

Different motorized scooters available in Long Beach, California in March 2023, including those from Bird, Lime and Veo

United States

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Rules in the United States vary by state. Motorized scooters are often not street legal, as they cannot be tagged, titled, insured, and do not meet federal requirements for lights or mirrors. Particular localities may have further ordinances that limit the use of motorized scooters. The top speed of the average motorized scooter is around 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). Due to their small wheels, motorized scooters are not typically safe for street use as even the smallest bumps can cause an accident.

California, for example, requires that a person riding a motorized scooter on a street be 16 years of age or older, have a valid driver's license, be wearing a bicycle helmet, have no passengers, and otherwise follow the same rules of the road the same as cars do. The motorized scooter must have brakes, may not have handlebars raised above the operator's shoulders, and if ridden at night must have a headlight, a taillight, and side reflectors. A motorized scooter may not be operated on sidewalks or on streets if the posted speed limit is over 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) unless in a Class II bicycle lane.[75]

Michigan laws treat motorized scooters similarly to bicycles. They are typically allowed on sidewalks, bike lanes, and roads.[76]

In Washington, D.C., motorized scooters are classified as Personal Mobility Devices, and are therefore not considered motor vehicles. This means there is no inspection, license, insurance, or registration required. Additionally, this means that motorized scooters are allowed on the sidewalks, and helmets are not required.[77]

In Georgia, motorized scooters are considered Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices, meaning they can be used on sidewalks and highways where the speed limit is at most 35 miles per hour (56 km/h), or in the bike lane. The law also specifies that users of Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices, including motorized scooter riders, "have the same rights and duties as prescribed for pedestrians".[78]

Scooter sharing companies have rules for operation printed on both the scooter and in the app, which includes instructions to not ride on the sidewalk. Given that the laws regarding motorized scooters vary from state to state, the scooter sharing instructions can differ from the local law.[79]

Mechanics

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Wheels and tires

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Stand-up scooters may have solid tires, pneumatic tires with tubes, or tubeless pneumatic tires. There is variety within each kind; solids generally have a honeycomb structure of some sort, often surrounding a hard-plastic insert. Sizes vary between 8 inches (200 mm) and 11 inches (280 mm) usually, and scooters with larger are available, for both road and off-road use. There are some with unusually wide tires especially for off-road use. Most of them use a steel or aluminum split rim.

Drive and transmissions

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The simplest drive mechanism of stand-up scooters is the electric direct drive, where the motor directly drives the rear wheel. Some electric scooters have two motors, one for each wheel. Brushless motors can be extremely efficient this way, especially when regenerative braking is implemented. A large proportion of newer so-called "e-scooters" are designed this way.

When electric direct drive is not the rule, the simplest is the spindle drive, which puts an extension of the engine's output shaft, the spindle, in direct contact with the scooter's rear tire. To work correctly, the tire must have a clean, dry surface with which the spindle can effectively interact. Scooters with this type of direct transmission can be pull-started with the rear wheel off the ground, or "bump"-started by forcefully pushing them with the rear tire in contact with the ground.

T3 Patroller electric stand-up tricycle

Simple chain reduction drives are also used to transfer energy to the rear wheel, generally incorporating a type of centrifugal clutch to allow the engine to idle independently.

Belt reduction drives use the combination of wide flat "cog" belts and pulleys to transfer power to the rear wheel. Like chain drives, belt drives include a centrifugal clutch, but are more susceptible to breakage in off-road conditions.

Suspension

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The suspension systems of stand-up scooters range from nothing at all, to simplistic spring based fork systems, to the complicated, dampened cam-link and C.I.D.L.I (Cantilevered Independent Dynamic Linkless Indespension) suspension mechanisms or a hybrid combination of wooden deck, coil spring, and dampers.

Brakes

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Brake systems of kick scooters include disc brakes; magnetic brakes; and less efficient hydraulic brakes. Brakes can be placed on the front and/or back wheel(s). Many newer e-scooter models also have Kinetic Energy Regeneration System (KERS), which also acts as an electronic ABS system (E-ABS) on some models.

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Companies

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  • AER
  • Apollo
  • Askoll
  • Beam
  • Bird
  • Boosted
  • Currus
  • EcoReco
  • EMOVE
  • Evercross
  • EVOLV
  • E-TWOW
  • Fiat
  • Fiido
  • Fluid Freeride
  • Glion
  • Globber
  • GOTRAX
  • Helbiz
  • Hiboy
  • Hopp
  • Jetson
  • Inmotion
  • Inokim
  • Joyor
  • Kaabo
  • Levy
  • Lime
  • Mearth
  • Mercane
  • Mii2
  • Minimotors
  • Macwheel
  • Mongoose
  • Nabi Boards
  • NAMI
  • Nanrobot
  • Neuron
  • Niu
  • Qiewa
  • Razor
  • RION
  • Segway
  • Skip Scooters
  • Spin
  • Splach
  • Swagtron
  • TAUR
  • TurboAnt
  • Turbowheel
  • Uber
  • Unagi
  • Uscooters
  • Varla
  • Vsett
  • WEPED
  • Work's Electric
  • Yume
  • Xiaomi
  • Zero

See also

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References

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If you are looking for more details, kindly visit China electric motorcycle moped.

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