Electric scooter (or “e-scooter”) sharing companies want consumers to believe the use of an e-scooter is a green method of transportation. Two major e-scooter companies, Bird and Lime, advertise that the use of e-scooters is environmentally friendly and Bird says they are a carbon-free alternative to cars. Unfortunately, science does not back up their claims.
Are E-Scooters Carbon Free?
A common complaint from communities with e-scooter sharing services it the litter the scooters themselves produce when they are broken and abandoned on the sidewalk, street, or even in rivers (check out @BirdGraveyard in Instagram to see pictures of e-scooter debris). E-Scooters are relatively disposable items with an average lifespan of just two years. With all of the components involved in the manufacturing of an e-scooter, the carbon footprint is hardly carbon-free. Add to that the emissions attributed to the collection and storage of the scooters and it’s easy to see that e-scooters have an environmental impact from their lifecycle.
E-Scooters Have Emissions
While a study in North Carolina published in the MIT Technology Review in 2019* found that e-scooters produce about half of the emissions of a standard motor vehicle, the study also found that their per-passenger-mile emissions are higher than an electric moped, an electric bicycle, or even a diesel bus with high ridership. And while e-scooters may be seen as an alternative to using a standard vehicle, the study found that only 34% of users would have used a car instead of the e-scooter leaving the many users replacing the true carbon-free mode of transportation – walking.
E-Scooter sharing companies have been known to give sponsorship money to non-profits and advocacy groups to gain support. In the beginning, little was known about the cost e-scooters would have on the environment, so you may see advocacy groups promoting the eco-friendliness of e-scooters, but over time more and more studies will emerge showing the true color of e-scooters, and it isn’t going to be green.
E-Scooter Injury Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in an incident involving an e-scooter, please contact us for a free consultation. The hundreds of pages of cell phone screen space it takes to read an entire rider agreement should not make you feel powerless. At Rahman Law, we advocate and fight for the rights and safety of pedestrians and cyclists. We’re here when you need us.
*MIT Technology Review, Sorry, scooters aren’t so climate-friendly after all, James Temple (August 2019)