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Micromobility operator surveys the public’s perception of e-scooter parking

If those opposed to the presence of e-scooters on the streets were pressed for their main objections, they would probably refer to a safety issue and the clutter of scooters left carelessly scattered about. Much has been done to try and assuage the public’s fears around their safety and now e-scooter suppliers Bolt have investigated the parking issue.

They commissioned a survey of people in 12 cities across Germany, Norway and Portugal, focusing on scooter parking quality; key concerns around poor scooter parking; reasons for scooter misparking and potential solutions.

Bolt’s charging dock in Setubal bus station, Portugal

Scooters were found to be a popular form of transport, particularly in the respective capital cities. A third of Germans and Norwegians had used them as had a quarter of Portuguese. A comfortable majority of these were found to be under 44 years old.

Respondents in all three countries – but Norway especially – thought that there had been significant improvements in the quality of e-scooter parking in public spaces. A variety of reasons were put forward for this, including an improved understanding of parking rules among users compared to past years, new product features aimed at higher parking compliance (such as an AI end-of-ride picture recognition system) and reactive solutions for preventing poor parking. It was also noted that there had been increasing enforcement of parking rules through sanctions.

On the other hand, respondents recognised that poor scooter parking negatively affected the general perception of scooters on the streets, with particular concerns that badly parked scooters could impede vulnerable groups. 

The main parking problems were said to be scooters parked on pavements and in cycle lanes, and scooters that had been knocked over.

A lack of awareness of the parking rules was thought to be a prime reason for poor parking but a lack of space was also cited, particularly in capital cities. 

When asked about possible solutions for improving the quality of parking, respondents highlighted four potential solutions:

  • Increasing micromobility parking spaces by converting car parks into scooter parking areas;
  • Installing parking racks in specific city areas to facilitate parking among users;
  • Applying penalties to users not respecting the rules;
  • Making parking rules more straightforward.

Responding to these suggestions Bolt point out that one of the cities in which they operate, Zaragoza in Spain, has converted almost 1,000 car parking spots into bike and scooter parking areas as part of its urban plan to reduce space dedicated to cars.

They have also developed parking racks and charging docks which, apart form providing a natural fit for the scooter, also eliminate, the need for battery swaps.

In terms of penalising poor riders, Bolt has recently developed the ‘Reckless Rider Score’ which is based on data picked up by scooter sensors. This reports on behaviours such as tandem riding, repeated abrupt braking, skidding, poor parking, and more. Repeat offenders will have their account suspended.

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