The FIA European Bureau (EB) commissioned a study on Safety and Environment Aspects of Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs). PMDs refer to electric bicycles, electric scooters, self-balancing machines, and cargo bicycles.
As part of the study, a consumer survey was carried out in three European capitals (Paris, Madrid, and Copenhagen) to gather consumer understanding and awareness on PMD use. The survey shows that most riders use e-bikes and e-scooters for fun, environmental reasons, or because it is the fastest way to get to their destination. Traffic, accessibility to dedicated cycling lanes, and charging availability were indicated as major issues for e-bike users, while e-scooter users seem concerned about road maintenance and parking issues with pedestrians.
Safety aspects regarding PMD use were also studied. The report pinpoints that approximately 50% of users (e-bikes and e-scooters) are not aware of safety rules while nearly 60% of pedestrians do not feel safe when interacting with e-scooters. Approximately 80% of PMD accidents tend to be single vehicle crashes, with very few involving other vehicles or pedestrians. Causes of accidents are often related to disregard for rules and user inexperience of the mobility device.
“Our study shows the need for increased consumer awareness regarding the rules and regulations around PMD use. Building adequate infrastructure and running user-awareness campaigns can improve safety for all road users.” says Laurianne Krid, Director General at FIA Region I.
With respect to environmental aspects, the study acknowledges that lightweight PMDs can potentially support sustainable transport policies. PMDs can contribute towards air quality improvement and close the gap between different transport modes. The study finds that lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from an e-scooter (on a per kilometre basis) are around 37% lower than conventional ICE private cars. However, the lifespan of PMDs can affect GHG emissions as it tends to be shorter: two to five months for shared scooters and up to three years for privately owned e-scooters.