Thursday, May 19, 2022

If you’re considering buying an e-bike or e-scooter, here are 5 things you need to know

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Petrol prices hit dazzling highlights. Such as global affairs pressure on the availability of raw materials, we are likely to continue to see volatile gasoline prices going forward.

So there has never been a better time to embrace alternative modes of transport such as e-bikes and e-scooters (also known as ‘micromobility’ devices).

In Australia’s major cities, the average car journey is about 10 km (a distance that many people believe is within cycling range).

As both researchers and users of micromobility vehicles, we are here to answer some common questions that arise when people consider becoming an e-bike or e-scooter rider.

1. What are the advantages of e-scooters and e-bikes?

E-bikes have been around for a while. Most are “pedal assistance”, meaning the electric motor engages when the rider begins to pedal. They are a good option for longer trips (5-15km), over hilly terrain or riding in hot weather.

They can also carry loads on attached baskets or panniers. Some cargo e-bikes can be used for grocery shopping, or even for driving small mobile businesses

More recently, e-scooters have grown in popularity. They are usually ridden standing (although seats can be added as an accessory).

E-scooters are easier to park and take up less space. They can also replace those short car trips that are just too far to walk. Passengers have recently been allowed to take e-scooters and bicycles on South East Queensland trainstaking into account first and last mile connections

If you’re not sure whether either vehicle is right for you, most major cities offer rental programs (such as Beam, Lime, or Neuron) that allow you to try it out before buying.

These are generally dockless sharing schemes that allows users to park anywhere near their destination, as long as they park responsibly on a sidewalk and avoid clutter.

U.S Previous research has shown that students are receptive to offering shared e-bikes on university campuses, and that tourists find shared e-scooters useful when visiting new places.

2. What are the rules in my state or territory?

In Australiae-bikes that meet certain European standards (with regard to what is actually an electric bicycle) are allowed on public roads and driven in the same way as bicycles.

However, the legality of riding e-scooters (or similar devices) in public varies by state and territory.

Australian e-scooter laws, restrictions and shared services available by state/territory, as of March 2022.
Compiled from various state and territory transportation bureaus by the authors

Under current regulations, the more “scooter-friendly” states are: Queenslandthe Australian Capital TerritoryWestern Australia and Tasmania† These states both have share schemes and also allow private e-scooters to be ridden in public.

VictoriaSouth Australia and the Northern Territory only allow shared e-scooters at selected trial locations, but generally do not allow private e-scooters to be ridden in public.

Public spaces in New South Wales remain a no-go for e-scooters (although trials have been announced to start this year).

Users should check the traffic rules and regulations of their own state or area before using or purchasing an e-bike or e-scooter.

3. How much fuel and money can I save?

The cost of purchasing a micromobility vehicle will vary widely depending on the vehicle type, battery, and add-ons (such as a rack, lighting, or remote tracking).

We recently surveyed private e-scooter users in South East Queensland and found that the most popular models are priced between A$500 and A$1,500. Higher-end models can cost upwards of A$2,000 (which is still much less than a car, and especially a electric car

E-bikes are slightly more expensive, with most models costing between A$1,000 and A$3,000, and only a few options under A$800.

Operating costs for micromobility vehicles are usually for electricity and maintenance. The good news is that these costs are also low, as the vehicles are much lighter than cars and use efficient electric motors. To be estimated that an e-scooter with one kilowatt hour of energy can travel 100 times the distance of a petrol car and 17 times the distance of an electric car.

The average passenger vehicle travels in Australia 11,100 km per year and requires 1,232 liters of fuel† At current prices, this equates to over A$2,700 spent on fuel alone, let alone other costs such as lease or loan payments, insurance, registration and repairs.

And if the purchase cost of an e-bike or e-scooter seems too high, some companies start to offer these vehicles for rent through a monthly subscription fee.

4. Is it safe?

Safety is a major concern for all road users. Since micromobility remains a novelty, the safety record for these vehicles is only now being established. That said, a 2020 International Transport Forum report suggests that the risk of e-scooters is comparable to that of cycling.

Available figures for the risk of shared e-scooters range between 78 and 100 deaths per billion trips, while the bicycle risk in cities is between 21 and 257 deaths per billion trips. In comparison, motorcycles or mopeds have a risk range between 132 and 1,164 deaths per billion trips.

While there is little data on the safety of e-scooters, cycling statistics suggest that there is a “safety in numbers” effect. This means that there are fewer fatalities in countries where cycling is more common.

The current standards for e-bikes are more mature compared to e-scooters. E-scooters available on the private market are not as well regulated and can exceed the local speed or power limits (which are usually 25 km/h).

Pedestrian and disabled advocacy groups have expressed concern that dockless shared e-devices could create a trip hazard or block walkways. Such concerns are justified and addressing them requires careful management by the scheme administrators and local authorities.

5. Will Australia Make It Easier to Ride Them?

Australia is well positioned to benefit from the fast-growing micro-mobility market and reduce the consequences of higher petrol costs

We believe there is too much focus on creating incentives for the electrification of full-scale electric vehicles. For example, the Queensland government recently announced the electric vehicle grant does not include e-bikes or e-scooters.

Research shows that three out of four people are interested in cycling, but the lack of safe routes is a concern among bicycle, e-bike and e-scooter users. Appropriate cycling infrastructure, including protected cycle paths and unpaved paths, is essential to encourage the use of both bicycles and personal mobility aids.

Advances in micromobility vehicle design and technology can also help improve user safety and experience. Built-in sensors can help detect hazards and alert users and pedestrians, as well as enable effective parking management.

It is likely that such advanced micromobility vehicles will first appear in shared schemes, but government issued mandates may eventually require all micromobility vehicles to have these features.

This article was co-written by Timo Eccariusassistant professor of Sustainability Science and Engineering at Tunghai University, Taiwan.The conversation

Abraham LeungPostdoctoral researcher, Cities Research Institute, Griffith University and Madison BlandPhD Candidate, Cities Research Institute, Griffith University

This article was republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article

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