© Lime

Sharing is a good thing. You don’t need your own car, your own scooter or, as will soon be the case throughout Germany, your own electric scooter. Just register for the respective app, unlock the vehicle and off you go. Nothing stands in the way of a casual cruise through the city. In many European cities, scooters are already very commonplace.

E-scooters bug a lot of people

What sounds so simple, however, causes many people to shake their heads in annoyance. Like the people of Paris for example. E-scooters have been a part of the traffic here for quite some time. The people of Paris, for example. E-scooters have been a part of the traffic here for quite some time. The practical, collapsible scooters are fast and highly maneuverable. For some e-scooter riders in the French capitol, this means that there is no problem passing trucks, cars, motorcycles and other road users in the middle of rush hour traffic – and there is one here virtually 24/7. Perhaps competing against them would be a better way to put it.

Reckless

Anyone who has recently been to Paris will have noticed that e-scooter riders in the city of love are either completely bonkers or else practically tired of living. A lot of rides on electric scooters are like suicide missions. Whether it’s competing against trucks on a triple-lane road.  Or quickly whizzing across the crowded pavement in front of the Eiffel Tower. Not a problem for electric scooter riders. A huge nuisance for other road users. Not to mention the risk of an accident. Sounds a lot like kamikaze – and it is.

That’s not just the opinion of the annoyed Parisians. Even the e-scooter rental service Lime have its doubts. The American company offers micro-mobility solutions for people living in and around cities. In Paris as well.

Sharing Nightmare

No question, sharing is a good thing. But what Lime is currently experiencing may not have been anticipated by their crisis communication manager. In Paris, one in ten people are already using a rental e-scooter. Every fourth person plans to use an e-scooter sharing service. Wouldn’t that be a good reason for Lime to celebrate? Not at all.

Lime didn’t do the math when it came to people. And as soon as they drive a rental scooter, they usually act recklessly and selfishly. Not a trace of responsible conduct. Not to mention a respectful attitude towards other road users.

It’s not mine, so who cares?

The rude, selfish behaviour of e-scooter riders must now be brought out into the open by Lime. That has already grabbed plenty of negative headlines for the US company. Anne Hidalgo, the mayoress of Paris, has already announced that she intends to drastically curtail the number of e-scooters and the rough handling of them.

Who could have foreseen such bad behavior? Or is that what it is? As it is no real secret that people are usually more careful with their own things than with borrowed ones. No wonder, because a rider first has to shell out considerably more money for one’s own scooter than for a rental scooter. It’s no big deal if something breaks down or if behaviour in traffic is not exemplary. It’s not your own e-scooter. By the way, this is not just a French phenomenon. In Sweden, the electric scooter trip has cost a 27-year-old his life.

Costly campaign

Lime now wants to counter the negative image of the agile electric scooters with an expensive media campaign in the French metropolises. Additionally, riders should be encouraged to treat each other respectfully. With bright green campaign letters, the company wants to bring e-scooter riders to their senses. Will this have any effect?

Perhaps Lime would do well to increase its crisis management staff. Just in case the campaign turns out to be a flop.

And Germany?

In Germany, we are already eagerly awaiting the official road approval of the handy E-Flitzer. It should finally happen by the middle of the month. Needless to say, there are no other means of transport that we could otherwise use. Not just e-scooter rental companies are champing at the bit. Even potential users can hardly wait to climb onto e-scooters.

And when that time comes? Are we going to witness the same phenomenon as in French cities? No consideration, no respect for other road users? In the meantime, it is no longer the right of the strongest which applies on the roads, but rather the right of the quickest. I don’t care how. The main priority is to get from A to B as fast as possible. Cyclists are already demonstrating how to do this. Not even red lights, traffic jams or pedestrians can stop them.

Desire and reality

Now e-scooter riders are on their way. How wonderful it would be if they could show how consideration and respect work in road traffic. Just slow down when the road is not clear. Don’t even squeeze by anywhere in a hurry. Handle rental vehicles with care. Well, that would be terrific – without any more rules and massive controls. Without social protests and restrictions.

This is difficult to imagine, however, in cities such as Munich. Here there are already enough difficulties with self-opinionated motorists and cyclists. Oh, yeah, don’t forget pedestrians. But as you know, hope dies last. Because sharing is actually a good thing.

More about Sharing:

Tomorrow is good: From ownership to access – and back again

 

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About the author

Author profile picture Christiane Manow-Le Ruyet is a writer who is always curious and always ready to learn something new. In addition to IT and architecture, she is also at home in the areas of sustainability and food. And when she doesn’t write, she draws. Preferably sketch notes. This is her second passion – as a trained interior designer perhaps no surprise.