10 May 2012

The Scooter - The Unsung Mobility Option

It's important to provide facilities for all forms of human-powered transport. In my neighourhood, many kids live close enough to walk to school, including my kids. They can and do ride bicycles there, too, on safe, separated cycle tracks, but scooters are a popular option as well. I wrote this article in 2012 but now, in 2014, scooters are still going strong. Whilst in Paris on our summer holidays, my son Felix said, "I love Paris. I love a city where a grown man can ride around on a kick scooter and nobody cares." Indeed.

Felix started riding his scooter around the 'hood a few years ago. Disappearing off to football practice or to a friend's house. However, when he scooted to school he came home a couple of years ago saying he needed a padlock to lock it. There were too many scooters inside the school - said the school - so a parking rack was provided outside. I didn't really get what he meant until I saw the rack.

Scooter Parking at School
A couple of rows of funky scooter racks have been placed in the schoolyard. You rest the neck of the scooter in the slot and a little bar is tilted down over it. You lock it with a simple padlock.

Brilliant and simple solution. There are six slots per rack and three racks in all. 18 parking spots behind the school and 18 more in front.

Scooters are quite underrated as transport. They have an air of childishness about them. Playthings. But with so many kids kicking about the neighbourhood I've realised that they are a respectable form of transport in their own right. So certainly facilities must be made available for them.

Scooter Parking
Another place you see a respectable fleet of scooters is at the larger Danish hospitals. And here, as well, parking spaces are provided. The sign at Hvidøvre Hospital, above, reads, "Scooter parking". You'll see hospital staff, from cleaners to surgeons, rolling along the long halls on their A2B journeys. There are the simple versions like the ones in the photos (I love the little kickstands on both of them) but there are also larger ones for carrying gear, blood samples, medicine, you name it.

Lulu Scoot Felix Scoot
The Lulu got in on the act early on, as well as The Felix.

Vienna Cycle Chic-003
Scooter parking in Vienna.

Home from Sledding - Cycling in Winter in Copenhagen
Heading home from sledding with mum. With a helping hand.

Barcelona Moment
Quiet transport moment with a scooter and a bike share bike in Barcelona.

Vienna Urban Mobility
And in Vienna.

Prague Bike Rack
Bicycle/scooter intermodality in Prague.

NYC Transport
This guy rocked his scooter in New York City.

Heading to the Beach


Michel from Norway said...

Wow,Brilliant, children right to Mobility, well done, respect and equality, not only the car of the headmaster who counts, love it!

slow rpm said...

Hej. I work for a large Scandinavian shipping line . On some ships,the crew use scooters to get from the accommodation to the engine room, located at the aft end of the ship. Fun in heavy weather!

Anonymous said...

I like the second to last photo where the parent pushes her child on the scooter. My son enjoys this kind of ride. He gets to ride hard on the scooter for the workout then I push him when he needs to coast while I pedal the bike... Also the elementary school he goes to I see about 20 scooters hanging on the fence. The bike and scooter cage is locked during school hours. --Carlsbad,CA

Klaus Mohn said...

In my bourgeois parts of Paris, the "cattle barriers" in front of primary and high schools are perpetually covered with cheap, colorful cable locks. Kids ride their scooters to and from school and leave the cables there when not in use. Check it out next time you'rei n town. It's cooler and more authentic than this dumb "attach a lock to a bridge" fake tradition our tourists have bought into. I just wish Paris made an effort to make riding to school safe and socially acceptable for those young kids too.

Alex Rybakoff said...

>>on safe, separated cycle tracks

I can't see them from the first photo :)

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Peter said...

I've been singing the praises of scooters for a while now. If we had scooter share instead of bike share, we'd see a huge uptick in use, of course. :)

But, I've been thinking about how to build a built-in/on lock for both scooters and skateboards. A couple exist, but they suck, imo.

There are also 'adult' scooters -- with the Xootr being the prime example. We don't have bike share in the Bay Area yet, so people are able to carry their Xootrs on the Caltrain with relative ease.


Scotty Mac said...

Scooters are a great way of getting around, especially for young 'uns.

However, our state government (Victoria, Australia - of course) took the retrograde step of making it compulsory to wear helmets when riding scooters in (I think) 2009.

In our little neck of the woods, this was followed up a month or so later by a visit to the school by the cops, who said that on their street patrols they had noticed many kids still riding without helmets. They therefore had decided to institute daily morning patrols whereby they would cruise the streets around the school looking for kids riding scooters without helmets, and start issuing fines to ensure compliance. This includes kids riding scooters inside the actual school grounds.

In the mean time, our school (in league with the state government) holds twice-yearly "Walk Or Ride To School" days, because they are allegedly so concerned about the lack of daily exercise the kids are getting.

That's Australia for you. Sic the cops on to kids who don't wear helmets when riding a scooter, then fret about them not riding scooters to school often enough.

Kiwehtin said...

I suppose my Kickbike scooter is a bit of an exception because of its large front wheel: being the same size as a typical bike wheel, it works just fine with an ordinary bike lock on the same racks used by ordinary bikes.

Cath Mok said...

Our family of four have two Xootrs (around 10-12 years old!), a MiniMicro and a K2 Kickboard (a grown-up version of the MiniMicro, around 12 years old). The kids use their scooters a lot, and if we are heading into the city (Melbourne- I'm also in Victoria, Australia) we often use scooters and puclic transport. We bring locks of some sort -sometimes a bike lock with a long extension (a thinner cable with a loop at each end) so we can lock them outside.

When I need to do multimodal days, I leave my bike at home and use a Xootr instead. I can fit it in a car, bus, tram or train. Sometimes with the kids, I ride, and they scooter; when they get tired, they hop on my Xtracycle and the scooters can be stowed.

Love scooters!


Alan Todd said...

Scooters are quite popular in Australia. I started noticing a few years ago that even teenagers were using them. This would have been unheard of when I was young, as scooters were definitely only for little kids, who then graduated to bicycles. But then, we have our special laws here, and scooter riders, like skateboarders, can wear what they like on their heads. So when I see adolescents scooting along, wind in their hair (or their hoodies) I enjoy the triumph of freedom and fashion over state mandated stupidity.

kids scooters said...

Well, I also found that scooters are very popular among all as not in Australia but also all over the world. There are kids scooters for kids and they enjoys to ride on it.

João Lacerda said...

Awsome! I've used them during Rio+20... great to integrate to Rio's public bike scheme!


Ray Ashton said...

I also saw a razor dirt bike in a scooter store near our home and I am really fascinated with it. I hope I could try it out.

Terrance Siler said...

Oh, I love the first picture! Great shot of the kid on his scooter decks. Saw different colors for decks as well, do you usually change scooter deck colors?

Robert West said...

Does this mean that we can include roller blades and bikes as a source of transportation now. Well, I would totally push for this. It'll save lot of space and resources. This might also be a form of exercise too.