E-scooters in Norway: Novelty or Here to Stay?

e-scooters Norway

writer icon Nikhita Sanotra     Marek Rucinski   |   City     🕐 12. Jul. 2019

In Oslo centre today, cars are few and there is a growing trend for green transportation. Oslo city bikes aside, shared electric scooters or ‘e-scooters’ are everywhere.

E-scooters are now readily available in many major Scandinavian cities as short-term hires. They get you from point A to point B without much effort, and all it takes is a quick charge overnight to run them.

The green transportation trend has come about in the last couple of years alone. As a result Oslo city centre, for one, now sees many of its parking spaces being freed up for more fruitful use.

Climate change concerns
Despite growing concern about climate change from the scientific community worldwide, governments have not been quick to respond. When it comes to going green, most cities in the world have not done much when it comes to personal transportation.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity in the US, global emissions from cars, trucks and other methods of transportation amount to a whopping 15 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. That is a considerable amount of emissions that individuals are in control of.

E-scooters in Norway
While it might be hard to believe, as the trend feels quite recent, e-scooters have been around since 2012 when they started trending in San Francisco, USA.

It was not until early 2019 however, that scooter sharing companies really hit the streets of Norway. The first one being Voi Technologies, a Swedish brand that started their operations in August 2018. There are now more than eight different companies that operate the scooter-sharing market in Norway, most of them situated in Oslo.

Oslo takes a liking to e-scooters
People who used to take the tram or bus to work are now quickly hopping on shared scooters instead. There is often someone riding an e-scooter at every junction in the city. It may only have been a few months so far, but it seems like the novelty of e-scooters has not yet worn off.

Besides the novelty factor, people are also realising that this form of transportation is quick, affordable and fun. In addition, the environmental impact of e-scooters is considerably less than driving, and using them instead of cars has a really positive effect on the environment.

Environmental impact
According to Andrew Savage, VP of Sustainability at the newest e-scooter company to join the Oslo market, Lime Scooters: “Lime riders have saved more 699,786 gallons of gas. That’s equivalent to taking 1,320 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.”

Not all smooth riding
Event though e-scooters can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they come with their own set of setbacks. In Norway, there is a legal speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour on scooters, which could make for a tough choice when considering taking rides that are more than five kilometres.

Another issue is that even though scooters are dockless, they still need to be charged regularly. Most scooter sharing companies outsource the charging to staff, but this means that the scooters have to be collected every evening, charged, and then put back on the streets. Detachable batteries could, however, help solve this.

There are also no regulations when it comes to drunk riding, or riding without a helmet, which many people consider to be safety hazards. People are also sometimes reckless with how they ‘dispose’ of the scooters after using them and they can be found strewn all over the streets.

This presents a challenge for people with disabilities, and for the traffic. More stringent laws on adhering to traffic rules could arguably help solve these types of problems, but as of yet they still cause some concern.

Part of the solution
Overall, it boils down to riders having to keep in mind that it is not just something to do for ‘fun’, and that using e-scooters come with a certain degree of responsibility.

Riding an e-scooter to work, instead of driving, provides a quick and easy solution to an environmental problem that the world is mutually trying to solve. As such the growing e-scooter trend can help fight climate change, albeit on a small scale.

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