ICYMI: This Week in Micro-Mobility, May 10th Edition

ICYMI: This Week in Micro-Mobility, May 10th Edition

by Timothy Ericson

There wouldn’t be a Zagster if it weren’t for Timothy Ericson. As Founder and Chief Business Officer, Timothy is responsible for growing Zagster and reshaping cities with its nifty microtransit solutions. Also, if you’re looking for a wine recommendation, he’s your guy.

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Timothy Ericson

Founder and CBO

Happy Friday! This week’s newsletter includes stories on Zagster’s latest partnership, why collaboration is key to unlocking the potential of micro-mobility, bike shares as medicine, how one tech reporter learned to love his scooter share, an in-depth history of micro-mobility from the person who coined the term, and much more. Let’s get started!

Zagster loves to partner, as we do with innovative micro-mobility providers like Spin and our amazing communities. On Wednesday, we announced new partnerships with GenZe, the Silicon Valley-based electric micro-mobility startup and commercial real estate company DivcoWest to launch the first-ever electric bike share for a commercial property in the United States. The program is a free amenity for tenants at 655 North Central Avenue in Glendale, eight miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The commercial property is about a mile away from a major mall and several great restaurants, and the new e-bile program will conveniently connect tenants (including DreamWorks Animation, the makers of “Shrek”) to these area attractions without the need to take their car out and find parking in the notoriously car-congested Los Angeles area.

E-bike launch at Divco West

E-bike launch at Divco West

We loved everything about Collaboration Key to Managing Scooters, Bike Shares from Route Fifty, a news source for state and local governments. The article notes that dumping scooters onto the streets of an unsuspecting city isn’t the right way forward because it disrupts existing transportation infrastructure and also creates headaches for local governments. To avoid these problems, advises the author, “city officials should be proactive in collaborating with transportation companies even before they enter the local market.” Zagster couldn’t agree more, and would extend the call to collaborate to every public and private stakeholder in the entire micro-mobility space.

Should bike shares be prescribed by doctors, like medicine? At Zagster, we certainly think so, and are happy to see a bike-friendly healthy trend developing. A few years back, the City of Boston created its “Prescribe a Bike” program allowing doctors to prescribe patients a yearlong, subsidized bike share program. This week, doctors in Cardiff, Wales, a metro area of about 500,000 residents, have started a pilot program whereby they “can prescribe six months of [free bike share] membership for people who need to do more exercise or lose weight,” according to this BBC News article. The article quotes public health consultant Dr. Tom Porter, who views biking as “one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of ill-health while building your cardiovascular fitness.” So take two wheels and call us in the morning!

I went back and re-read a wonderful essay from the New York Times, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Scooters. In it, California-based technology reporter Kevin Roose was fully-prepared to hate scooters because of negative headlines about “scooter dumping” in cities. But once Roose actually tried the vehicles, something changed: “for a week, I used shared e-scooters as my primary mode of transportation. I rode them to meetings, ran errands across town and went for long joy rides.” Roose’s final verdict? “They’re pretty great.” Call me “unsurprised” to learn that scooters are fun!

Given the explosion of new devices primed to hit American pavement in the next few years, the government should recharge its consumer protection efforts in this burgeoning market and re-dedicate itself to overseeing micro-mobility safety.

CityLab recently offered a great overview of safety regulation in the micro-mobility space, The Right Way to Regulate Electric Scooters, which we read with profound interest. Rider safety is always Zagster’s top priority. The article focuses on the primary federal regulator of micro-mobility vehicles, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and describes the CPSC as “ill-equipped” for the job: “Given the explosion of new devices primed to hit American pavement in the next few years, the government should recharge its consumer protection efforts in this burgeoning market and re-dedicate itself to overseeing micro-mobility safety.” At Zagster, we work closely and proactively with government officials to ensure rider and vehicle safety. We know safety is foundational for micro-mobility’s success.

Horace Dediu of Micromobility Industries (who coined the word “micro-mobility) has written a terrific history of the space: The Three Eras of Micro-mobility. It starts in 1975, when a community bicycling program launched in Amsterdam, and continues to the present. Dediu chronicles how micro-mobility began in Europe, boomed in China, and then came to the United States, which traditionally worshipped the automobile. As Dediu explains, “The paradox is that the US . . . is pathologically automotive. In other words, if you were to rank all the world’s cities/countries in terms of (micro)modal share, and decide to deploy where cycling is popular and is well-supported by infrastructure, the US would likely feature among the last places you would go. And yet this is where the third era took hold.” Zagster is proud to help drive this now-unfolding history!

Finally, May is National Bike Month and Zagster is offering half off our annual membership all month. Just download the Zagster app and sign up -- the discount applies automatically. We’re also giving away five FREE memberships for a year. Just email us at social@zagster.com and let us know why you bike. Enjoy your weekend!

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