Don't like to read?
On Aug 12, 2020, Chicago launched its second electric scooter pilot program. This program will provide an alternative transportation method for residents. Furthermore, The pilot program is expanding to cover more of the city.
However, the majority of the scooters will be in disadvantaged communities. They believe this program will help offer an additional and innovative transportation method.
Electric Scooters can help lower the risk of infection during the public health crisis. Additionally, Electric Scooters will have a built-in locking method. The purpose of the new locking feature is to reduce sidewalk clutter for residents who are visually impaired or disabled.
The Risks of Electric Scooters
Despite electric scooters posing a significant number of advantages, the service mentioned above is a scooter-sharing. Meaning people rent those scooters for a set time. Scooter-sharing increases the risk of infection. Just as the service could help eliminate Covid-19, it can also spread the virus further.
In addition to the potential spread of Covid-19, there is evidence that electric scooters lead to injuries. According to Tom Waters of the Cleveland Clinic, found the injury rate electric scooters has tripled in the last four years. The common injuries were fractures, contusions, abrasions, and lacerations.
The number of e-scooter related injuries and the number of hospital admissions raised concerns. The number of e-scooter injuries increased by 222 percent, and hospital admissions increased by 365 percent. However, the study data is from the periods 2014-2018. Nonetheless, the results of this study are concerning.
Alternative to Scooter-Sharing Services
As previously mentioned, scooter-sharing services can increase the spread of Covid-19. Thus it is imperative to have an alternative to scooter-sharing. One other option is buying an Unagi scooter. Unagi is the first company to launch a subscription service. However, these scooters are not cheap. An unagi scooter will cost subscribers $990 — approximately $39 each month.
Though buying an Unagi scooter is expensive, it will reduce one’s risk of infection. These scooters have been endorsed by celebrities such as Chance The Rapper and Billie Eilish. The subscription plan does come with an initial service fee of $50, which will make the first month’s cost almost $89.
The scooter is guaranteed to arrive at the subscriber’s front door within 24 hours. Unagi also offers an annual plan which costs $34. In other words, Unagi offers an expensive alternative to scooter-sharing.
Scooter-Sharing or Unagi Subscription
Although Scooter-Sharing could increase the risk of infection, Unagi does not offer affordable subscription options. Due to job loss, affordable transportation is essential. Even though Unagi offers several subscription plans, there most affordable plan is expensive. Though upgrades, fast shipping, and a celebrity-endorsed scooter, the cost presents several problems.
Nevertheless, scooter-sharing does pose health risks. However, if riders wipe down their scooter before and after each ride, the risk of infection will decrease. Riders could also wear gloves and use hand sanitizer.
These public safety habits will help prevent spreading Covid-19 and allow residents to have an alternative transportation method.
Whether people opt for an Unagi subscription or sharing service, riders will have to deal with the risk of injuring themselves. Though this is avoidable, according to Dr.Waters, anyone operating an e-scooter should have a driver’s license, understands the rules of the road, and follows safety protocols.
If people watch for pedestrians and oncoming traffic, the risk of an injury should decrease. The scooters are convenient, however, there are precautions that need to be taken.
In general, sharing services does increase the risk of infection, however, many people can not afford an Unagi subscription plan. Due to this, both services must be available to people. Those who can afford an Unagi subscription plan should do so as this will leave more scooters for those who need them. Those who can not afford an Unagi subscription should be able to access more affordable methods of transportation. Especially in a time where so many people are unemployed.
Opinion News by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
NBC5 Chicago: Chicago Launches Second Electric Scooter Pilot Program
The Verge: Unagi launches $39-a-month subscription for its stylish electric scooters
Count On 2 News: Electric scooter use leads to rise in injuries, study says
Featured Image Courtesy of Elvert Barnes’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Mr. Thinktank’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License