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Six surprising e-scooter facts

Six e-facts about the new go-to transport for Berliners, from their role in women's emancipation, to whether they're really safer than bikes and if they are really an eco-friendly option.

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Photo courtesy of Voi. Six interesting facts that could change your mind about the e-scooter invasion.

No way! Six e-facts that might make you rethink your stance on scooters.

1 Pioneered by the Germans

The first motorised scooters in Europe were produced by German company Krupp in 1919, four years after the invention of the “Autoped” in Long Island, New York. The Motorläufer had a saddle and could go 35km per hour.

2 A vehicle of women’s emancipation

Krupp’s cutting-edge vehicles were embraced by some seriously pioneering characters. Among them was sufragette Lady Florence Priscilla Norman, CBE, who would ride them to her office in central London. For anyone who’s ever tried to cycle in a maxi skirt, the appeal is obvious!

3 Safer than bikes? The facts!

Despite the fear-mongering news reports on how “E-Xtrem” (Bild) dangerous e-scooters are, statistically, your chances of getting injured by an e-scooter are much smaller than getting run over by a bike. Official figures collected by the police show e-scooters were involved in 21 accidents in the first month following their legalisation (one-third of which didn’t involve anyone but the scooters themselves). Meanwhile,stats show that bikes are routinely involved in 22 accidents… a day!

4 Sabotage-worthy?

In a July edition of his podcast, German comedian Jan Böhmermann expressed his anti-scooter sentiments: “It would only take a little push to dump them in the Spree”, he gleefully hinted. Meanwhile, some angry Kreuzbergers have found a more eco-friendly method to rid their lives ofthe e-devices: spray-painting their QR-codes, rendering them useless.

5 Born to die young

Hate them, but too lazy to take action? The good news is that the motorised scooter species is ephemeral from an evolutionary perspective. Keeping in mind that the Krupp model’s heyday lasted a mere three years, if historical precedent is anything to be stand by, it’s all bound to be a mere fad! (Our personal bet is that they might go out of fashion by winter time: who wants to ride e-scooters in sub-zero temps!)

6 Electro-unsustainability

Probably the one good reason to hate e-scooters is their sheer wastefulness. The life expectancy of your average free-floating scooter is only three to 12 months. What’s more, the huge environmental cost for the countries where the lithium for battery production is sourced, the electricity needed to charge them as well as the vans that pick them up each night mean they aren’t as eco-friendly as you might think. It may be a step up from fossil fuel engines, but no need to ask Greta, the power of your own legs is surely the most sustainable vehicle to transport yourself around town – be it on two wheels or on foot!