SOCIETY

Micromobility brings solutions and woes

As scooters gain traction, calls grow for more education and safety measures

micromobility-brings-solutions-and-woes

The first E-Scooter TrackDay was held recently to familiarize a group of 40 people with new electric micromobility vehicles that are becoming increasingly popular.

The event was initiated by Dimitris Skiannis, a journalist who has been involved with electric vehicles since 2018. He organized the event through his website getelectric.gr, hoping to educate the public in road safety.

“Whoever wants to try out an electric scooter can simply ride it. Up to now, all safety issues and familiarization processes have been left to chance,” he told Kathimerini.

The event took place at the Thanasis Houdras Riding School north of the capital, an institute with much experience in training and road safety.

Skiannis described the event: “The participants tested their limits riding e-scooters, exploring the vehicles in a safe environment that provided all the necessary gear. Our goal was to make them more familiar with the structure of the e-scooter as well as the dangers that may arise.”

Skiannis is already partnering with the Panos Mylonas Institute for Road Safety to organize more educational events after the summer. He believes that the private sector can play an active role in scooter training, given that at the moment there are no public mandatory classes or seminars available in Greece or abroad.

Rental companies for electric scooters have all but disappeared in Greece, as more people now seem to prefer buying to renting, unlike in other European cities. Lime, Hive and Rise were all heavily hit by the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, while many instances of vandalism were recorded around Greece, with scooters being destroyed or thrown into the sea. Lime users complained about the poor condition of most scooters.

Hive maintained a small number of electric scooters but did not manage to become profitable. Rise, a Greek company, had all the good features of the other European companies but was struck down by the pandemic.

“My work means I have to move a lot and the scooter was the perfect solution. I cover 10 to 20 kilometers a day with my e-scooter. Car drivers are respectful and even accommodating. One more scooter is one less car on the streets,” actor Paris Lykos told Kathimerini.

“I used to do 15 to 20 kilometers every day with my scooter, which is very convenient for short distances and combines well with the metro,” Skiannis added.

The main group using scooters is people aged 20 to 45, according to Konstantinos Panopoulos, the first businessman to open an e-scooter shop in Athens. “There are four types of customers: those who use the e-scooter to go to work every day, those who use their car up to a point, those who combine the scooter with public transport and those who use it just for fun.”

More and more people are using scooters in downtown Athens. There is not much bureaucracy involved in getting one, it is relatively cheap and provides great flexibility.