E-bikes, e-scooters and motorized skateboards have caught on as cheap, convenient ways to get around cities faster. But their presence has caused some to worry about their safety and others to worry about the potential for chaos on the sidewalks as the vehicles share space with slower pedestrians.
A just-released report by the International Transport Forum should put fears about the former to rest. It also offers recommendations for minimizing the latter.
As reported in Metro Magazine, the “Safe Micromobility” report by the ITF’s Corporate Partnership Board finds that e-scooter users face no greater risk of injury than cyclists do. It also finds that motor vehicles are involved in 80 percent of all fatal e-scooter and bicycle crashes and that overall traffic safety would improve if car trips were replaced by e-scooter or bike trips.
It also concludes that the rapid growth and evolution of micro-transport vehicles requires governments to put in place regulations that anticipate that future growth and ensure the safety of pedestrians and micro-vehicle users alike. It contains 10 recommendations for local policymakers in support of those goals. Some of the key recommendations:
Create protected space for micromobility vehicles along the lines of bike lanes. Concurrently, micro-vehicles should be banned from sidewalks or subjected to low speed limits on them.
Apply the same rules to low-speed e-vehicles and bikes. Faster e-vehicles should be regulated like mopeds.
Address the risks motor vehicles pose to other road users by training motorists on how to avoid and reduce the likelihood of collisions, including cycle training in school curricula, and imposing lower speed limits of 30 km/h (19 mph) or less where more vulnerable road users share space with motor vehicles.
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