Why E-Scooters Are Taking to the Sidewalks: A Closer Look by Dott

Electric scooters on the pavement


With the surge in e-scooter popularity, riders are frequently found on sidewalks, navigating around inadequate road infrastructure. This trend has been highlighted by Dott, a prominent Dutch e-scooter rental enterprise active across various European cities and Israel, through a comprehensive study.

To capture precise usage patterns, Dott equipped its fleet with advanced AI-powered cameras from the innovative Irish tech firm, Luna Systems. The data, meticulously gathered across Brussels, Grenoble, and Tel Aviv, encompassed over 3,000 journeys and 3,700 miles.

The analysis revealed a promising statistic: 93% of e-scooter riders adhered to roads and bike lanes. Nonetheless, the deviation onto sidewalks could be traced back to substandard road conditions in 71% of instances where e-scooters left the designated paths.

The issue of sidewalk riding poses a significant challenge for e-scooter companies, often sparking safety debates due to the potential risks posed to pedestrians. To address this, companies like Dott are implementing technological solutions, including geofencing, which curtails or halts e-scooter movement on sidewalks.

Dott's research underscores the pressing need for robust micromobility-friendly infrastructure as the core reason prompting riders to divert onto sidewalks. Other contributing factors include abruptly ending bike lanes and obstructions on established paths.

A segment of sidewalk usage, about a quarter, was attributed to "irrespective rider behavior," indicating a dual challenge of infrastructure and user conduct.

Maxim Romain, Dott's COO, interprets these findings optimistically, noting that most e-scooter riders aim to operate their vehicles conscientiously. Pavement riding, he suggests, is more a matter of perceived safety rather than a flagrant disregard for rules.

In response to these insights, Dott aspires to collaborate with municipal authorities to enhance urban roadways and support safer, more confident use of sustainable transport modes.

The data serves not just as feedback but also as a tool for city planners, helping shape future road enhancements. In Grenoble, mobility project manager Laura Mollard-Dumont acknowledges the value of AI technology in promoting compliance among e-scooter users.

This initiative sets shared e-scooters apart, offering city officials nuanced insights into urban transit and contributing to improved urban planning. Additionally, Dott is utilizing the collected data to inform and educate riders about safe and compliant e-scooter use.

Andrew Fleury, CEO of Luna Systems, emphasizes that such technological applications grant a deeper understanding of riders' behavior, enabling tailored communications and interventions for safer e-scooter operations. This, in turn, aids cities in developing infrastructure that caters more effectively to the e-scooter demographic.

Dott anticipates extending this investigative approach, deploying AI cameras in additional cities including Madrid, Lyon, and London to further this endeavor.

Source: Forbes

Author: Benjamin Dai

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