Statistics show that cars are more harmful than scooters and bicycles
A new study from Cornell University and the University of Oregon shows that compared with electric scooters, vehicles are more likely to double stop, block lanes, block bike lanes and violate other parking rules.
Electric scooters have been getting a lot of attention recently, thanks to Lime, Skip and Jump, which have put thousands of scooters in more than 100 cities across the country.
News reports regularly describe a scourge in which scooters disorganized sidewalks, violated regulations and wreaked havoc on city streets.
Given that the biggest offender is a car, this is surprising.That's right: A new study from Cornell university and the University of Oregon shows that motor vehicles are many times more likely to double stop, block lanes, block bike lanes and violate other parking rules than electric scooters.
To get a better idea of how people use scooters, the authors of "The Frequency of Use of Electric scooters, bikes, and parking lots in clear lanes" sent observers (including myself) to Portland, Austin, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Washington, D.C.
Our aim was to discover how long micro-mobile devices (scooters, bicycles) and motor vehicles would block the right of way of street users.
After looking at 2,631 cars (ranging from private cars to bus and food trucks) and 865 bicycles and scooters, the data showed that nearly a quarter (24.7%) of cars were wrongly parked, compared to 0.3% of scooters (1.1%) of bikes and motorcycles.
The data also showed that electric scooter and bike users do "use the parking infrastructure provided, particularly in San Francisco, where 97.7 percent of scooters and bikes are parked on shelves or corrals."
Meanwhile, scooter regulations don't necessarily lead to better behavior.The authors find: "There is no clear policy lever for reducing violation rates with any microtraffic regulations.Of the five case study cities, Austin had by far the largest microtraffic fleet, while Portland and San Francisco had the smallest permitted fleet. However, Austin had the lowest microtraffic violation rate (0.6%), second only to San Francisco (0%), but ahead of Portland (2.3%)."
While I am surprised at the extent of the gap between motor vehicles and bike/scooter violations, I do have doubts.I spent a few hours walking up and down Southwest 10th Avenue in downtown Portland, seeing cars stop twice, jump on the curb, and generally ignore the rules of the road.In the city, a whopping 22.6 percent of observed motor vehicle violations included parking violations - Portland isn't even in the top half of the category.
Some cars are more likely to break the rules than others;63.6 percent of motor vehicle violations involved commercial, vehicle, taxi and delivery vehicles, accounting for only 23.8 percent of all motor vehicle violations observed.
Given the rise of Amazon and ride-sharing providers such as Uber and Lyft, this is a remarkable discovery.This suggests that we need to come up with new street layouts so that these vehicles have enough room to operate without impeding other street users.
At the moment, cars are more threatening than electric scooters in our city.Traffic jams, pollution and collisions with pedestrians lead to death and are more likely to break the rules of the road.
We have the ability to solve problems and make electric scooters more efficient and low-carbon.We can't wait to reduce the inefficient and destructive role of motor vehicles in our society.