Silent death? Madrid bans e-scooters after pedestrian is killed | NEWS
European cities are being swamped with kids-style stand up electric scooter fleets. They’re controlled by an app and don’t need to be docked like a conventional ‘Boris bike’ or similar hire fleet, so they can be left around the streets waiting for the next user to just jump on board.
Earlier this week Madrid announced a ban on the electric scooters after a 90-year-old pedestrian was killed by one. Police in the Spanish Capital have recorded 22 accidents involving e scooters since the start of the summer when the three main hire firms began operating there. Eight of the accidents were for pedestrians being run over by the 25kmh machines.
There are three main companies hiring out the machines in the city, Lime, Wind and Voi, and in a bid to improve safety they have already been given regulations to limit their use to cycle lanes and 30 kmh single lane roads. The firms have also been told to reprogramme their apps so the scooters can’t be used in pedestrian areas, or left clogging the pavements up. Geofencing can be used to limit use to designated areas.
VIDEO | How to ride a Lime scooter
As Lime launched into Madrid earlier this summer, Alvaro Salvat, Lime’s GM of Spain said “This is a big day not only for Madrid, but for the entire country,” he went on to say, “By adding Lime-S electric scooters to residents’ mobility options, the city is reaffirming its commitment to cleaner air, safer streets and more equitable transportation solutions.”
$1 billion business
To give you an idea on the scale of their use, in Lisbon, Lime scooters were ridden 100,000 times in the first month of operation in the city in October. It’s big business, Lime (backed by Google and Uber) are valued at $1 billion.
The council ordered the three hire companies to remove all their scooters within 72-hours earlier this week, just a few days after the pedestrian was killed by one. Once the three day period is up the council will be confiscating any they find. It’s thought the ban will only be temporary though, the council are currently evaluating licencing applications from various other companies and Lime, Wind and Voi will be able to reapply providing their machines and the apps meet the recently imposed safety requirements. Either way, it’s a short, sharp shock to nip this growing trend in the bush.
Aside from the death in Madrid, two men are currently facing manslaughter charges in Barcelona. They allegedly killed an elderly pedestrian as she walked in a pedestrianised area with her zimmer frame. The men were using an e scooter at the time.
Los Angeles and some other American cities have also banned the use of these nippy, silent and potentially deadly scooters.
As the world tries to convince us into believing that electric is the fuel of the future (despite the dubious materials used in battery production, and the electricity used to charge them) will the silent death figures eventually eclipse the kill statistics for fossil fueled vehicles?
New products always in development…