Lack of e-scooter infrastructure leaves 79% of women feeling unsafe, study finds

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Women in Transport and Voi Technology have partnered to study shared e-scooter use and gender equity, with the findings due to be presented to an all-party parliamentary group at the House of Commons on 16 May 2022.

The research into e-scooter use, reviewed and analysed by an independent Gender Equity Commission including participants from C40, the International Transport Forum, Women In Mobility, Open Inclusion and others, is reported to be an industry first.

It found that over three-quarters of women felt unsafe using e-scooters due to the lack of appropriate riding infrastructure. The partnership said it remains clear that there are a number of hurdles for the industry to overcome if women are to embrace this new and sustainable mode of transport.

Shared e-scooters and gender equity reported that 83% of survey respondents (strongly) agreed that drivers’ and other road users’ attitudes towards e-scooter riders was a barrier to (further) using shared e-scooters. With 83% of respondents stressing that docking locations can be a barrier to riding if not located in safe and useful areas.

The report calls on the government to provide clarity and certainty over laws around both shared and private e-scooters, as although 99% of regular riders understand the difference between private and shared scooters, 59% of non-riders said understanding of laws and regulations surrounding e-scooters was a barrier to riding shared e-scooters.

It also suggests that local authorities and e-scooter operators should collaborate to ensure women’s transport needs and experiences inform the development of e-scooter regulation and services in specific areas, particularly the location of parking docks and development of infrastructure.

Furthermore, the report recommends operators and authorities work to ensure local environments and cultures support night-time safety for women, for example, ensuring public spaces are sufficiently lit, and providing bystander awareness and education to help prevent violence and harassment of women and girls.

Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “Our overall mission is to create safe, sustainable and reliable micromobility for everyone, and we are committed to taking women’s needs seriously. We are delighted to have worked with Women in Transport and the Gender Equity Commission, and excited to be acting upon their findings and recommendations.

“By collaborating closely with cities and governments, we can ensure that measures to address barriers that women may have in enjoying e-scooters, and feeling safe in doing so, will continue to be addressed, in particular with our new gender safe parking standard.”

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