CALGARY – With many people avoiding public or shared transportation during COVID-19, the personal e-scooter market has seen a massive increase in sales over the past year.
However, privately owned e-scooters face more restrictions in many communities than e-scooter rental.
In Calgary, you can rent an e-scooter and ride it on every sidewalk, bike lane, and trail. However, when you buy an e-scooter, there are only trails that you can take with you. The city can give you tickets if you are driving on sidewalks or trails.
Even so, you will still see e-scooters downtown. All are privately owned as the Bird and Lime shared scooters won’t be on the market until later this spring.
READ MORE: E-scooters could hit the streets of Calgary later this spring
“Truth be told, the rental market has ruined a lot of PR for us just because people rent them, ride the sidewalks like crazy people doing what they want, and of course it’s always the top headline in the newspapers,” said Christopher Rey with Apollo Roller.
“But at the end of the day, electric scooters like ours are much safer and the people who ride them use them like bicycles and electric bikes – with great respect.”
After the start of Lime and Bird in Calgary, Apollo saw an increase in sales. Several other e-scooter companies have also reported increases in sales.
“I would say that around 40 percent of the increase comes from customers who have already thought about an electric scooter but haven’t made the leap. COVID was a factor for them to finalize the purchase, “Olivia Yau said in a statement with Urban Machina.
“Using e-scooters to avoid public transportation is probably the main reason people use e-scooters. Another reason is that people who can work from home drive a lot less. We have customers who had two insured vehicles in their family, but reduced them to one insured vehicle. They use e-scooters for commuting where they don’t have to drive. “
Jeff Lawrence, GOTRAX’s director of marketing, agrees with Yua and agrees that COVID-19 and finding creative ways of commuting will drive sales. He also says that boredom in isolation could be motivators for those looking to buy an e-scooter.
According to Yau, people are generally more careful about driving an e-scooter they own than driving a rental car. Cities with different laws for privately owned scooters and shared rental scooters need to reconsider the restrictions that affect private owners.
“Drivers are less likely to be reckless on a scooter they own. There have been reports of people parking the rental scooters in the middle of the sidewalk causing danger, throwing scooters into the water, or letting them stack up. You don’t do that with a scooter you own. “