Dockless scooters are the latest phenomena ~ in case you haven’t experienced them, electric scooters function through an app on your smartphone. Once downloaded, you enter your personal and credit card information, then you are able to unlock, ride and lock the e-scooter. The app charges by the minute and includes wireless connectivity and GPS location.
If you’re considering making dockless scooters your new mode of transit, consider these 5 tips.
- Be safe: Even though the scooter’s speed is regulated to 15 miles per hour and using them is generally safe, it’s best to be careful. Wear a helmet, watch traffic, and be respectful of cars, bicycles and pedestrians. Be conscientious. According to KUT News, Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department are partnering to study the case of 37 Emergency Medical Service calls and 68 scooter related injuries reported during a 60-day period in 2018. (which 60 day time span?)
- Respect traffic regulations: Observe road signs and follow traffic regulations. Know whether you’re allowed to be in the street, bike lane or on the sidewalk. These rules may vary by neighborhood, city, county, and even university campus.
- Be good to pedestrians: Sometimes sidewalks are just for walkers. Riding through town means you will be sharing a lane with pedestrians and cyclists. Acknowledge and respect fellow riders as well as pedestrians by slowing down, stopping when necessary, providing plenty of space, making eye contact, giving a nice smile, and displaying courtesy. Many cities and some universities have banned e-scooters due to rude and dangerous behavior.
- Parking rules: With parking an ever-competitive issue in cities, follow these rules:
- Make sure to park and lock the scooter in an appropriate place on the sidewalk. Leave adequate space for pedestrians to walk.
- Avoid blocking handrails, wheelchair ramps, building entrances/exits, or fire hydrants.
- Check the app for red zones where parking is not allowed. Lock your scooter in an area that is accessible to other potential riders. Do not lock the scooter inside an apartment complex or office building where an access code or sensor is installed, because the scooter is then unavailable to others.
- After every ride the app requires you to take a phone photo of how you parked your scooter to stop billing, ensure the scooter is undamaged, and let the next rider to find the scooter via GPS.
- Be part of the e-scooter ecosystem: If you see a scooter parked improperly or on the floor, be part of the ecosystem by reporting the issue to Austin 3-1-1. The success of the e-scooter system is possible when riders use the scooter responsibly, following the app’s rules and traffic laws.
If you are thinking about giving e-scooters a try, there are currently 7 different brands available in the streets of Austin. Some of the most popular include Lime, Spin and Bird. Even Uber and Lyft have joined the industry with their own dockless scooters. Be courteous scooting your way around town!
Sharon Schweitzer and Sophie Echeverry co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.
Sophie Echeverry is the Corporate Marketing Manager and Event Coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, she’s a 2018 graduate with a B.B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco, CA. Sophie has co-written more than 30 blogs since graduation. She’s a passionate foodie, and an avid e-scooter rider. Follow her foodie Instagram account or Connect with her on LinkedIn.