I ride an electric scooter. Actually, if you’re a regular reader of Goosed.ie, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that. Which is why I’m going to change my tone a little. Electric scooter sharing companies like Lime and Bird might work in other cities, but they would be a disaster in Dublin and should not be allowed. Here’s why.
Could Lime Scooters Be Coming to Ireland?
There are two massive players in the shared electric scooter game:
- Bird – Uber’s electric scooter company
- Lime scooters
Bird has come as far as the UK and they’ve hired someone to manage the UK and Ireland. Lime scooters have gone one further and registered their business in Dublin.
Don’t start panicking just yet as I’m fairly sure this move is to set up in Ireland for the tax benefits and to hire teams who will look after the rest of Lime’s European business.
Still, it’s only a matter of time until a public scooter sharing company hits our shores and I personally think it’ll be a terrible thing to happen. Here’s why.
How Public Scooter Shares Work
Electric scooter sharing works because companies like Bird and Lime flood cities with scooters. By doing so, there’s a scooter at the start and end of most people’s potential journey. By having a scooter on every corner it becomes a no brainer for people to scan the barcode on the scooter, pay €1 to unlock and then pay €0.15 per minute. Based on this model, most journeys around Dublin likely riders less than €3.
While that all sounds great, Dublin City is a very old city. I mean that in terms of infrastructure. The roads, while varying from not great in some areas to an absolute disaster in others, are not the issue here either. The problem is our footpaths.
Marie Kondoing City Streets
In countries where electric scooter sharing has become popular, locals generally take exception to the fact these modern modes of transport and left strewn around the footpaths. In a recent Prime Time special where members of the public were interviewed, an American gentleman described this exact scenario as to why electric scooters, in general, are a bad idea; and this is the crux of my point.
Ride-sharing of personal transport already happens in the city with the likes of Dublin Bikes and Bleeper Bikes. The latter faced stiff opposition from Dublin City Council amid fears the bikes would be dumped around the city causing issues for pedestrians. It’s important to note here that those most vulnerable could potentially suffer most here. Dublin footpaths are already some of the toughest to navigate and even areas like Grafton Street spring up challenges, despite being a perfectly wide pedestrian zone.
Most streets in Dublin aren’t as impressive as Grafton Street. Streets are often bumpy, narrow, broken and uneven. In my mind, I can already see scooters falling over, blocking footpaths and ultimately ending up in the Liffey. Dublin City is simply not built for something like electric scooter sharing.
The Lifespan of an Electric Scooter
I ride a Xiaomi m365. It’s a great scooter and I have no major complaints around build quality etc. I do tell people that you need to be willing to get your hands dirty with an electric scooter. Things need tightening and fixing, largely down to Dublin’s bumpy roads. But this is a scooter which I’m running for about 45 minutes per day.
Bird and Lime use, amongst others, the very same scooter as my own one. They slap some branding on it and bolt on some tech for the payments systems, but other than that it’s the same as a personal scooter. The scooters simply aren’t able to survive with people riding them all day long. In addition to normal wear and tear, there’s the theory that you never drive a rental like your own.
Electric Scooters For All
Now, back to the Marty you all know. Electric scooters are still a fantastic solution to Dublin’s horrendous inner-city congestion. I believe buying and riding an electric scooter yourself is perfectly fine. You’ll ride it carefully because it’s your own. You’ll park it responsibly because it’s your own. Ultimately, because people own electric scooters, they’re not a problem. If they’re borrowing them, it could be a recipe for disaster and the powers that be have already shown they have little patience when it comes to scooters in Dublin.
What’s your take? Let me know in the comments below.