Electro micromobility & road regulation

02_bike


The introduction of road education in school curricula should become a prerequisite, as is already the case in some countries.

Authoritative analyses have led to a sharp rise in sales of Elettro bikes Eapcs and Elettro scooters in the motor vehicle sector worldwide. The data of Boston Consulting Group BCG published last August, estimated at about thirty billion dollars the potential development of global market. By 2024, 4.6 million shared electric scooters will be operating around the globe.

Focusing on the latter, some quick clarifications are appropriate. To improve the emission-free environmental impact about production and distribution, delivery/collection intervals and disposal, the two giant manufacturers, Bird and Lime are committed respectively to perfecting longer-lasting models and replaceable batteries to avoid the sudden displacement of vehicles. Start-up Voi first experimented with these implementations in Paris, reducing emissions by 71%.

Mobility flexible, ecological and low cost, but that to be SMART must be able to mean reliability, legality and safety.

Research by the Public Health department in Austin, Texas, calculated that there were 20 individuals injured for every 100,000 e-scooter trips, with almost half of those injured sustaining head injuries.

In parallel, the strong growth of the bicycle market resulting from physical distance, which is both necessary and urgent, results in road legislation regulating use and circulation.

Two years after their launch on the US market, electric scooter sharing programs are available in more than 100 cities, in at least 20 countries. Let’s make a brief legal escursus of the current situation in some sample cities.

Starting from the European Community and leaving aside the Netherlands, notoriously virtuous, in almost all European cities the age limit is 14 years, except in Austria where you can start at 12 years, with a maximum speed limit of 20-25 km/h. Travel on cycle paths and in the absence of these on normal roads. Only two-thirds of EU countries require helmets for minors and Germany is the only one to impose registration requirements. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland are implementing forms of road accident insurance, which has led to a high number of accidents in recent months. As far as controls are concerned, Hungary and Italy are the last to be classified.

 

ITALY
According to data from Friends and Supporters of the Traffic Police ASAP, only in the summer months were sold over one hundred thousand E scooters with direct purchase.

Today MILAN is the Italian city with the largest market with six thousand units sold and an increase of +400% compared to last February, before the pandemic. Data destined to increase, exceeded only by the rental, equal to about 7600 per day for an average time of use of 10 minutes.

Bad button reserved for road accident. Unlike municipal companies, road insurance remains non-compulsory for private individuals, spreading confusion and litigation. As traffic accidents increase, Milan has set up a special team of eight surveillance agents.

Updated data from October, note that the most common infringements are attested by the seizure of the vehicles for exceeding permitted speed limits, followed by administrative penalties, ranging from 42 to 173 €, for all other cases:

 

Most Common Traffic Violations with administrative penalties

30%

Driving with invasion of pavement

30%

Driving with passenger transport

24%

Driving with failure to stop signs such as Stop and Red Lights

9%

Driving in a no-access zone

5%

Driving without helmet by minors

2%

Driving with use of a single hand and mobile phone

 

Without prejudice to speed limits ranging from 50 km/h on extra-urban cycling to 25 km/h in the city center, which become 6 km/h on pedestrian areas, vehicles were detected running at 90 km/h driving at night. Therefore, many questions still remain to be answered: taxation, not obligatory helmet, manipulation of the power output of homologation equal to 0.5 KW (against 0.25KW of electric bikes), improper use as towing, double sense bike, driving in the wrong direction or on connecting roads, wild stops, etc. Above all to safeguard all types of users, from drivers to pedestrians, to all road traffic actors in compliance with a more conscious assessment of the risks. Last but not least, we should take into account a mandatory dose of mental balance in addition to the ergonomic one which, judging by recent Israeli tile-shaped patents, would do without this, too, as they lack dumbbells.

BRUSSELS
You have to be 18 years old and you can drive exceptionally on the sidewalk for speeds not higher than man’s pace.

BARCELONA
Double channel: 10km/h on cycle paths and 30km/h on the road. Minimum age 16 years, helmet mandatory according to body weight and type of use. Insurance advice.

LJUBLJANA
Officially banned due to lack of legislation, expected for next February. In fact, they are everywhere without actually being stopped or forbidden.

MOSCOW
Age of majority and Driver’s license. According to the restrictions of the Ministry of Transport, drivers in Russia are forbidden to exceed the speed of 20 km /h in crowded places and use vehicles in a state of drunkenness. Russian ride-hailing firm Citymobil integrates Urent e-scooters into service
Urent will increase its fleet by counting to reach 17 thousand by the end of the year. Assuming an average number of monthly rides of 200 thousand, with 5-6 trips per day.

LONDON
Use allowed only on private roads, £300 fine on public roads and 6-point deduction on driving license, which as taxation must be mandatory, provisional or final and subject to annual MOT review. In the Berkshire Town of SLOUGH, from 16 October, Slough Borough Coucil and operator Neuron are testing the rental of 250 electric scoters with geo-fencing technology. Operational purposes: limit control of the driving area and select parking areas by identifying specific areas. Not only technological and safe, but also anti contagion because every single vehicle will be sanitized between runs. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a driving licence.

CAPE TOWN
Drivers must be at least 18 years old and pay a deposit if they vandalize the scooter. In addition to repair costs for damage if they bring the scooter out of the designated operating area. The vehicle can not be rented to others. Prohibition to bring backpacks and briefcases. Expected alcohol testing.

TEL AVIV
Israel is regulatory efficient. The sales of electric scooters are tracked, the driving is authorized for only eighteen years with a license and the use is exclusively on bicycles, with dedicated parking areas.

KYOTO
Equal treatment with mopeds, therefore compulsory driving licence, insurance and helmet.

SINGAPORE
Maximum speed of 15 km/h, dimensions calibrated according to body weight, exclusive driving on cycle paths and registration

AUSTRALIA Sydney in NSW, the continent’s most populous state, electric scooters are still banned. Pending regulation, as in the United Kingdom, they can only be used on private roads. In Queensland, however, they are allowed and can run with a limit of 25 km/h, over 16 years of age, on sidewalks and secondary roads. While still in Victoria they can circulate only on sidewalk.

NYC
Trend reversal in the big apple. Congested bike lanes in the five boroughs as the city attempts to boost the offer of corporate electro scooters across Manhattan Island. According to the updated Streetsblog data, on the one-lane, two-way cyclo-pedestrian routes of Manhattan Bridge and Queensboro Bridge already saturated with feet, pedals, skates and skateboards, there would be no infinitesimal space for further alternative and optional infrastructures. Bird and Lime would be planning the E-sharing offer at the expense of the many, beloved old bicycles. "There’s plenty of space to ride," said Eric Levenseller, the founder of New York City-based scooter company #Levy Electric Scooters. "People will probably move out of the bike lanes to get into regular traffic lanes because there’s not enough space or they don’t feel safe in the bike lane.” And some reckless scooter users already do.

 

SEATTLE
The American city remains a leader in the sector, constantly perfecting new rental technologies on the territory, without sacrificing no less smart forms of payment in cash to guarantee the right to inclusion in more fragile social categories. The free floating system allows you to rent the nearest scooter using a smart-phone application, drive to the destination and leave the scooter in the nearest appropriate location. Designed to be guided by the community with an inclusive public engagement process, it develops a scooter sharing program that works well for Seattle. Many offers, with discounts and promotions, free rides for new users and discounts of 50% on additional rides for the usual. Smart measures for safe driving, from slow speed calibrated for beginners to automatic stop/shoutdown programming of the vehicle in closed areas, Geofencing. Great care of course is reserved for location and signalling of parking areas, duly selected to not cause damage to traffic, green, disabled and entire citizenship.
Everything that might seem obvious here, takes on a decidedly revolutionary aspect for the high value attributed to certain standards of safety and livability that elsewhere would not have the right to count

WHAT WE CAN DO, FROM PLANNING TO TECHNOLOGY

On a large scale in the global market, our local governments have all been Able to grasp the change offered by post lockdown funding. But how many of these are really ready to innovate and evolve?
Many government to support the rollout of micromobility vehicles like e-scooters, e-cargo bikes and e-bikes across the globe.

Amsterdam: 48 percent of commuting trips are made by bike

 

Paris of Anne Hidalgo and her most famous Rue de Rivoli has embraced radical steps to make transport safer and greener, closing roads to cars, building more cycling infrastructure, and welcoming micromobility vehicles – e-scooters, e-cargo bikes and e-bikes – onto streets and cycle lanes.

Berlin with the pedestrianisation of the Friedrichstrasse button in the heart of the city. No cars between Französische Straße and Leipziger, but new entry of trees and seating. To the great satisfaction of local exhibitors, including bicycle mechanics that have become very popular.

BRISBANE starts again from its origins with the implementation of the traditional, essential and indispensable cycling. As the Brisbane Times reported a few days ago. The famous River Loop cycle path will have new signage installed along its 36 kilometers. Over 400 orientation and signage signs have been installed by November, says Brisbane City Council. The signs will vary from large "You are here" maps at key entry and exit points for the loop, to small street signs and pavement markers to keep riders on track, that will enrich the experience along one of the most spectacular cycling routes that each week hosts about 37,000 people walking or cycling along the River Loop.

After the great progress with walking and cycling, micromobility vehicles are a low carbon alternative to cars. But they need new policies, new language and new regulations.

Given that all the measures taken to tackle change are really effective only if accompanied by concrete social policies.Inclusiveness and equality can be achieved if and only if in the conclusion of agreements between public and private, requires electric scooter operators to prioritise low-income communities and suburban areas that are poorly covered by public transport.

Temporary intervention approaches dictated by emergency situations that should lead us to new types of planning, focused on qualitative and not quantitative values, starting from a mobility also made sustainable. So measures to close the roads have been implemented in the major cities of the world. This should improve the use of public space and ensure a better overall experience for residents and tourists.

This should be the systematic and not optional criterion for redesigning more intelligent mobility, ensuring maximum accessibility with minimal impacts. Networks, services and axes, strategic urban mobility bases, show how local associations, transport divisions and planners help transform significant neighborhood intersections into safer spaces for anyone who walks, go cycling, roller skates or motor skates, as well as by car.

E-scooter as a social phenomenon that, in spite of safety, even before governments issue specific regulatory and control measures, now spreads everywhere.

Provided that public transport services are increasingly accessible, widespread presence and convenience must therefore be paramount in order to facilitate modal shift from cars. Lime, for example, is collaborating with Uber and Google Maps to allow that in typing trip planning, e-scooters appear as a viable alternative to car use.

These scooter-sharing schemes allow users to hire models using smartphone apps in a similar way people hire bicycles or also downtown elettric cars sharing.

If we add an interactive mapping of the routes that can be used to the geolocation of delivery and retrieval (input|output), connected to the booking and block service, that is not limited to just assisting the guide, but monitor real-time variations and obstacles along the way, certainly individual and collective security would benefit. Both within the dynamics of urban traffic, as a reduction of risks, both on the extra-urban environment in respect of the territories, infrastructure and populations concerned.

Joan Calvera, President and co-founder of Cyclocat NGO

We present the result of work based on the long-distance mobility of bicycles. Some of our knowledge is definitely used by E-scooter users, especially in metropolitan areas. As an NGO, we obviously cannot make regulations, but we can suggest to the authorities how to proceed.Assuming that the range of motion of the bicycle and electric scooter is different, apparently our tool would make no sense for short distances from electric scooters, which already use generic routers like Google Maps, currently the most common routing app (suitable for E-scooters but not for out-of-town bikes). As urban commuter amateur, Joan tried to find the safest ways to ride a bike by transforming a data set from individual to collective. Using her background as an industrial engineer, assisted by talented software engineers, Joan managed to create a simple, useful and usable web page consisting of a cycle map visited by 7,5k views per month of cyclists who consult the map of the safe cycling network.
The faithful adherence of reality and the constant meticulous updating made by the cyclists themselves, gives it the characteristic of extreme safety. As a member of the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Bicycle Mobility Table, Joan regularly attends meetings defending cyclists' safety needs. Through the coordination of the work of many volunteers that mark the territory it is possible to configure the selected return of safer streets and streets.

CycloCat develops Guineu, a router specially designed for cyclists.

One of the consequences of the pandemic is the increase in bicycle mobility, but it is often hampered on interurban trips. CycloCat, which classifies roads according to their safety, has developed a router that calculates the route with the minimum gradient and maximum safety for cyclists. The great added value that this router has compared to others is the quality of data, as it’s a coordinated knowledge of more than 50 "Sherpas" (who are the volunteers who know the territory) to be able to weave a road net that gives coverage for 95% of the inhabitants of Catalonia. With this router, it will be easier to find a safe route for cycling between cities in the metropolis of Barcelona. It also helps to find cycling routes, as the safe cycling net covers Catalonia from the Delta to the Empordà, giving a good tool to promote Km0 tourism without emissions. With the classification of these roads, it is possible to identify more clearly the possible route of the EuroVelo8, which must pass for the Mediterranean corridor. Moreover, this work is very useful for administrations as it highlights the black spots where further actions should be made to ease interurban bicycle mobility. Guineu has been in operation since last summer in manual mode and it is expected to operate automatically witheen the next season.
CycloCat is a non-profit organisation founded in 2015 dedicated to classify and document the best existing ways for cycling around Catalonia. The selection of the ways is under the concepts of "minimum slope, maximum safety". CycloCat is funded by donations from patrons and by organizing events that test the selection of paths. All the information can be found at www.cyclocat.cat

CONCLUSIONS

Given the enormous success among the youth market, in relation to the announced increase in speed limits, the introduction of road education in school curricula should become a prerequisite, as is already the case in some countries. Augmented reality of a not far-off perspective where each new vehicle can correspond to a car sold in less. To consider then the urban transformations in progress, see the neighborhoods of 15-20 minutes, in connection with the changed road design of multimodal integration and the consequent functions of interchange between micro and macro mobility. As in the regulation of motor vehicle traffic, it would be desirable to achieve international unification of safe traffic rules with appropriate legal and insurance arrangements.

Author

PATRIZIA IORIO born in Benevento and lives in Turin (Italy), is registered architect, high school’s teacher and passionate cyclist. After working among research institu- tes and local authorities, choosing the freelance profession, dedicate herself to inve- stigating holistic approach that make our cities and communities more livable and sustainable.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
https://Linkedin.com/in/patrizia-iorio-a4b863182

Electro micromobility & road regulation

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