Infrastructure Briefs: E-Scooter Accidents Rapidly Declining, Study Claims

E-Scooter reported injuries per million trips declined by 44% from 2022 to 2023 according to a recent report. Meanwhile the number of incidents requiring medical treatment or fatal injuries, incidents dropped by 19%.

Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) is an industry collaboration of major bike and scooter share operators. They base their claims on date from more than 300 million e-scooters journeys covering more than 540 million kilometres and more than 58 million e-bikes rides covering more than 139 million kilometres. The figures only include shared micro-mobility, which are subject to strict rules including speed caps and geofencing, unlike privately owned micro mobility devices. The data has been aggregated based on incident reports by Bird, Bolt, Dott, Lime, TIER and Voi, and follows the same methodology as for the years 2021 and 2022, and covers the EU27 (the 27 nations that make up the European Union), Israel, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.

MMfE data shows that the risk of injury requiring a medical treatment while riding an e-scooter is slightly lower than riding an e-bike, 3.3 incidents per million kilometres ridden for e-scooters and 3.9 per million km for e-bikes.

Meanwhile, data from the European Commission for 2023 shows that almost 70% of vulnerable road user fatalities, including cyclists and shared micro-mobility users involve motor vehicles.

Better Business Times Ahead for Bike and Scooter Share Companies?

After a turbulent year, the dust seems to be settling in the world of micromobility.

Following bans and bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions, consolidation in the industry could provide a welcome note of stability.

Earlier this month, Bird announced that it had “successfully emerged” from Chapter 11 proceedings after filing for bankruptcy in December 2023.

The firm was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in late September 2023 for failing to maintain a market capitalisation of US$15 million (A$22.5 million)

This occurred just days after it acquired Spin for US$19 million (A$28.5 million), and now the two entities will operate under a new private parent company – Third Lane Mobility.

Bird and Spin have won multiple new bids and launched new services in several cities.

“We are a substantially stronger business financially with many opportunities ahead that position us for long-term growth around the world,” said Bird’s Interim CEO Michael Washinushi.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Superpedestrian which previously closed its US-based shared scooter services recently sold its European operations to Norwegian startup Surf Beyond for approximately €5 million (A$8.2 million).

Two of the largest bike and scooter share companies, Tier and Dott announced a surprise merger In January 2024, with investors injecting an additional US$66 million (A$99 million) into the combined business.

Meanwhile, Lime announced it had achieved its highest-ever number of trips in 2023 with 156 million e-scooter and e-bike rides globally. The company brought in US$600 million (A$900 million) in gross bookings and earnings (before tax) of over US$90 million (A$135 million).

There are also plans to invest more than US$55 million (A$82.5 million) this year to expand its global fleet, adding 30,000 new bikes.

“It has been a very hard journey getting to this point, which is why we are so excited to share that Lime is self-sustaining, profitable, and thriving,” said Lime CEO Wayne Ting

Lime have said that their working towards an IPO (Initial Public Offering to list as a public company.)

Most of this article was first published in Cities Today, written by Christopher Carey

$37 million Announced for Walking and Cycling Upgrades in SA

The South Australian Department for Infrastructure and Transport has announced a $37m investment in cycling and pedestrian improvements across Adelaide’s road network as part of a broader $168m Road Safety Program funded 50:50 with the federal government.

The funding will primarily be used to construct six actuated crossings (actuated meaning having traffic lights that pedestrians and cyclists can press to stop traffic) on arterial roads, enabling safer and more convenient movement for vulnerable road users.

Locations include Grange, Allenby Gardens, Rostrevor, Gawler, Gepps Cross and Mile End.

Infrastructure and Transport minister Tom Koutsantonis said the government was “working with local councils to develop safe and connected routes to encourage cycling as a travel choice”.

“These new crossings will enable pedestrians and cyclists to safely get across without having to risk finding a gap in traffic,” he said.

In other news from Adelaide, a critical missing link in the Mike Turtur Bikeway, that runs along the tram reserve from the CBD to the coastal suburb of Glenelg, has been scrapped. This was a planned overpass at Goodwood railway station, just south of the CBD. Currently cyclists have to walk through a narrow tunnel under the railway line, linked by narrow, indirect pathways at each end.

Several years of planning and community consultation has gone into the project.

Transport for NSW Expands E-Scooter Trial Program

Of all the Australian states and territories, New South Wales has been the most cautious when it comes to e-scooter regulations.

Private e-scooters are still illegal to ride, even though many thousands have been sold and they’re a common sight on the roads, cycle paths and footpaths of cities and towns throughout the state.

Meanwhile there have been a few limited trials of e-scooter share programs, with some, such as in the City of Wollongong being operated by Neuron, appearing to be very well utilised.

On 5th June Transport for NSW announced and expanded e-scooter trial application process for local governments that they say will be, “easier than ever before.”

Their release continued, “We heard from councils and other stakeholders that applying to participate in the trials was taking too much time and was too complicated.

“In May 2024, we improved the application process, removing red tape. This makes it easier for councils to participate in trials.

“The Shared E-scooter Trial application process and Safety Design Tool are designed to appropriately manage safety risks and protect riders and all road users.

“The new process cuts the application time by over 60%. It will now take about 45 working days to process a council application.”

Some of the trial conditions include a minimum rider age of 16 years, a speed limit of 20 kph on bike paths and roads and 10 kph on shared paths. You can see the full TfNSW document here.

It will be interesting to see what impact these changes may have in terms of uptake by local governments. In particular the Inner West Council of Sydney has been in sometimes contentious discussions with the NSW state government about running an e-scooter share program while the T3 rail line between Sydenham and Bankstown is closed for at least a year while it is converted into part of the Metro train network. This will seriously affect 60,000 daily commuters and the state government would like some of the more inner city station commuters to use e-scooters instead.

Zipidi Launch Comprehensive Report on Safety Technology

Even though far more Australians are killed and injured in motor vehicle crashes, the safety of e-bikes and e-scooters has become a hotly debated topic in local communities and via mainstream media, particularly in relation to impacts upon pedestrians.

Local and State governments are under pressure to take action, but there’s a high risk of ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ by either over-reacting or taking steps that won’t actually help.

With this environment in mind, it’s timely that Victorian based consultants Zipidi have recently released a comprehensive 26 page report covering all of the key issues around micromobility safety and the best solutions going forward. They’ve also produced an 80 page guide for Local Governments who are looking to either implement a new shared mobility service or improve an existing one.

Both documents are available free of charge and can be downloaded here.

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