Active tour guide Jonny Ives takes a look at how easy it is to use e-scooters in the 12 month trial that is currently taking place.
When it comes to innovation, Headington seems ahead of the game.
After the suburb conquered the market for shark-through-roof art installations and led the way in Covid-19 vaccines with refrigerator temperature, the suburb on the hill is now the scene of the county’s first experiment with street-legal e-scooters.
Since privately owned motorized scooters are still not allowed to be used on the streets or in public spaces, the 12-month trial version offers the rare opportunity to use an e-scooter as a means of transportation rather than a source of entertainment.
Oxfordshire County Council hopes the test will be part of a green restart for local travel as the lockdown gradually subsides, reducing the need for short car trips and helping to improve air quality.
The operator, Swedish company Voi, hopes the scooters will become a popular option for micromobility and attract enough users, especially among students and key workers, to make the program economical.
Some voices have raised concerns that the new scooters pose a threat on the sidewalk and streets, filling the JR with victims of collisions or inexperienced drivers cropping up on the first corner they encounter.
Read again: What it’s like to drive an e-scooter in Headington
Only time will tell, but a test drive suggests that those expecting a scooter-induced, speed-insane carnage are likely to be disappointed.
The first hurdle a user must overcome is access.
The new scooters must be registered via an app and only accept people over 18 years of age with a provisional or full driver’s license.
A credit card and a scan of your license are also required before you can begin.
Then there is geo-fencing, a GPS system that not only restricts the area of the experiment but also where you can drive. Currently, parks and hospital locations are no-scoot zones.
This means that your scooter’s engine will shut down if you enter a restricted area or leave the boundary of the attempt.
The geo-fence facility is also used to create areas where the scooter is limited in speed. Headington’s central shopping district is a slow zone.
Outside the slow zone, speed freaks and thrill seekers will likely be disappointed with their e-scooter experience, but anyone looking to get from A to B in a pleasant way can find their inner child unleashed.
Once on board, the ride is pretty stable and just fast enough (with a top speed of 15 km / h) to put a smile on your face. more than a trundle, but not quite a spell. Hills and bumps are handled pretty well, although driving with one hand would be difficult, which could make signaling difficult.
Is an e-scooter the future?
Read more: MP Criticizes Travel to Get Ice Cream
A bike is faster, more comfortable and more versatile. Walking is cheaper and much better from a public health perspective; But if Oxford is serious about creating a city where people stay, meet, walk, and ride, one can imagine that a fleet of geo-fenced and speed-restricted e-scooters could play a part as the enjoyable part of a role lively cityscape.
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