Have you ridden an e-scooter yet? E-scooters are the newest efficient, inexpensive transit option available in many U.S. cities. Both Sophie and I have ridden e-scooters to work, and we want to share some thoughts on how to improve the image of dockles scooters. We have observed business people and leisure riders alike whiz by on these not-so-discreet neon scooters roaming around Austin, Texas.
In case you haven’t experienced them, electric scooters function through an application (app) on your phone. 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 e-scooters your new mode of transit, consider these 7 tips.
- Scoot mindfully: 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.
- Follow 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.
- Defer to pedestrians and cyclists: 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: These scooters are a new phenomena. Make sure to park and lock the scooter in an appropriate place on the sidewalk. Avoid blocking handrails, wheelchair ramps, building entrances/exits, or fire hydrants. Leave adequate space for pedestrians to walk. Check the app for red zones where parking is not allowed. Lock your scooter in an area that is accessible to other potential riders. Avoid locking 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.
- Take a good post-picture: 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.
- #scootersbehavingbadly and #birdgraveyard: These hashtags are used by unhappy urban dwellers where riders have abandoned scooters or left them to litter parks and gardens. Avoid poor behavior or risk being shamed publicly.
- Be part of the e-scooter ecosystem: The success of the e-scooter system is possible when riders use the scooter responsibly, following the app’s rules and traffic laws. Help reduce carbon emissions.
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. Connect with her on LinkedIn.