ICYMI: This Week in Micro-Mobility, July 26th Edition

ICYMI: This Week in Micro-Mobility, July 26th 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

This week’s newsletter includes stories about the current boom in e-scooter adoption, the launch of e-scooters in the New Jersey city most closely associated with rock legend Bruce Springsteen, glowing responses to our recent scooter launch in historic Salem (MA), why communities should be building infrastructure to support the safety of micro-mobility, and much more. Let’s get this rolling!

Forbes.com has just posted a lucid, must-read overview of why e-scooters are booming and how cities are approaching their regulation. In With the Help of Regulators, MIcromobility Will Be Poised for a Massive Surge in Adoption, writer John Frazer explains how communities are balancing their need for more, and more accessible, transportation options with their legitimate concerns around public safety. Frazier’s conclusion on e-scooters? “We are on the cusp of a massive surge of adoption of these humble but eminently useful devices. Micro-mobility operators should be treating local governments and regulators as partners rather than obstacles, and acknowledging the crucial role they play in bringing about positive change in our urban cores. We need the regulators, and the cities need the operators.” Zagster works alongside our community partners in order to unlock the benefits (and manage the risks) of micro-mobility.

The Boss on a Tandem

The Boss on a Tandem

E-Scooters are coming to the city most closely associated with “The Boss” (Bruce Springsteen’s legendary 1973 debut album was “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”). Springsteen’s hometown of Asbury Park (NJ) is launching 250 Spin scooters in a one-year pilot with Zagster, starting next week. "Scooters are an affordable, fast, convenient and fun way to travel around the City," Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn told a local newspaper. "We did a ton of research before bringing this [Zagster] pilot to Asbury Park, including evaluating other cities that have launched scooter sharing programs and visiting Hoboken, the first municipality in New Jersey to launch a scooter share program.” We’re proud to be partnering with Asbury Park: no word yet on whether The Boss will be riding an Asbury Park scooter.

The Salem (MA) News just ran a terrific article about our recent e-scooter launch there. Members of the Salem Chamber of Commerce (SCC) attended the launch and had fun riding scooters. Jeff Swartz of the SCC told the Salem News that the new scooter program will likely "start with a lot of people riding them for fun, then there will be a transition as the novelty wears off to (being) a transportation option." Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll described the impact of having multiple modes of micro-mobility in her historic port city: "If we can get people to cut down on the amount of car usage and congestion on the roadway, that's a positive benefit for us, and even those who would never ride." 

Two-way protected bike/scooter lane in LA

Two-way protected bike/scooter lane in LA

The success of community-based micro-mobility depends upon a good operations model, reliable vehicles, and infrastructure that supports safety. We at Zagster are fans of this call-to-action by Vanderbilt physician Dr. Katherine McDonnell in Tennessean: “Building infrastructure for scooters, just like bicycles, makes our streets safer for everyone,” writes Dr. McDonnell. “A recent study based on 13 years of data in 12 cities showed that building protected bike lanes — those with physical separation from traffic — resulted in 44% fewer fatalities for all road users – bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike. . .Nashville should make it as easy and as safe as possible for all people in this city to get around.” Zagster constantly works to educate our riders on scooter safety, and we also support public infrastructure to support safety.

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A provocative article in The Atlantic, Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, But the Law Insists On It, by Law Professor Gregory H. Shill explains in-depth how our nation’s lawmakers have given preferential legal status to the automobile for over a century, to the detriment of transportation alternatives. “[O]ver the course of several generations lawmakers rewrote the rules of American life . . .They gave legal force to a mind-set—let’s call it automobile supremacy—that kills 40,000 Americans a year and seriously injures more than 4 million more. Include all those harmed by emissions and climate change, and the damage is even greater.” While we’re not anti-car, we strongly believe multi-modal micro-mobility should be given the legal support and public investment it deserves, especially when it comes to infrastructure investments.

Consumer Reports is a great source for accurate, reliable information on products. They’ve just detailed some amazing research showing that more active forms of transportation, such as bicycling and walking, can benefit people far more than jumping into their cars for short trips. "Our research suggests that making walking and cycling easier and preferred over cars for short trips is likely to be beneficial on all three counts of health gain, health system cost savings, and greenhouse gas emissions." We thank The League of American Bicyclists for sharing this terrific article with us. Getting people out of cars and using healthier (for people and for the environment) modes of transport is the reason Zagster (and the Bike League) exists.

Have yourself a great weekend, and try to enjoy at least some of it on a bike or e-scooter!