18 Sep 19

Are e-scooters faster than cars? 

Yes, they are, according to recent studies in the US and in the UK. If you are looking for the fastest way to move around in cities, e-scooters might be your best choice. 

70% success rate

Both in cities in the UK (London, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield), and in the US (San Francisco), in 70% of the cases scooters would perform the same ride faster than a car. For the first series the traffic information supplier Inrix revealed a study concluding that about 70% of car journeys would be performed faster by scooters. The only hassle here is that scooters are still illegal on public roads and pavements in the UK. Yet, the study also analysed data on car rides, showing that more than two-thirds of the rides in already congested urban areas are less than 5km, hence the perfect distance for a micro mobility mode such as a scooter or bike. 

In San Francisco, scooter company Skip performed a similar study, showing that scooters are faster than cars in 70% of the researched routes. Not too bad, if you know that the average commuter in San Francisco spends more than 100 hours in traffic every year, costing them about $1,624 per driver; moreover, since driving speed during peak hours is decreasing every year - it dropped to an average of about 12 miles per hour – which is also the average speed of a scooter according to Inrix. 

Add parking, add time

In addition, these studies only talk about the straight route from A to B, without taking parking time into account. If you do, the scooter wins hands down, especially if you know that a lot of traffic in cities is indeed caused by drivers looking for a parking spot, losing time and money while doing so.

A scooter can be dropped literally anywhere - all you have to do is tell the operator your journey has ended. In some cases you need to take a picture of the scooter. That is about to change in many cities, including Paris, which are looking to mandate the use of docking stations as a solution to clear the pavements from nonchalantly abandoned scattered scooters.   

Scooter first or safety first?

Another interesting fact comes from the presence or absence of bike lanes. Journeys taken over bike lanes make the scooters even faster, while the lack of bike lanes slows the scooters down. 

Good to know, since more and more cities worldwide are expanding their bike infrastructure, which might not only be an advantage for cyclists, but for scooters as well. However, that leads to another discussion: that of scooters and safety, and their most appropriate position on the road.

Some cities prohibit the use of scooters on bike lines. It's the case in Amsterdam, which believes scooters have a negative effect on cyclist safety. By banning them from the bike lanes, the city expects the number of accidents to decrease by 260 per year.


Authored by: Fien Van den steen