Peak sales, lowest safety26 September 2020
/ by Aldo Avancini /
Electric scooters are all the rage, but how many use them the right way? Aldo Avancini looks at the situation in Italy to draws some reflections /
I have just returned from a short work trip to Germany, and looking back on what I saw there (not much, unfortunately, as I was only there for a few days), I want to share 2 thoughts with you.
The first concerns the large amount of infrastructure work that major companies are actively involved in, I could say working like beavers in a continuous, effective and above all organised way. But this is beyond the scope of our sector.
The second involves the large number of electric scooters being used around the country: of course, (almost always) in dedicated lanes, (almost always) with complete respect for traffic and especially pedestrians, and with a certain propensity to use protective equipment, despite the heat.
Back in Italy, in a very normal city in the north, in the safest possible conditions (sunny day, almost non-existent traffic, a straight route, etc.) an ‘Italic’ electric scooter came alongside my car, at a constant speed of 40km/h as measured on my speedometer.
I confess that I do not know the precise legal limits for the use of these vehicles and in particular the speed limit; but from the comparison between Germany and Italy it emerges that, while in Germany in the event of non-compliance with the rules, the obligation to have a license plate allows rapid identification of the offender and/or the negligent party in the case of an accident, in Italy, where there are no plates on the scooters, this is impossible. The only identification that comes to mind can be summarised as: “Male, white, dark grey hair, slim, 175cm tall for a weight of 70kg, black trousers and white shirt, no helmet or jacket.” I thus highlight the different approach and the different ease and speed of recognition.
I don’t want to elaborate, but let me ask you readers: in your opinion, is it acceptable to travel at 40km per hour practically without any protection (other than a guardian angel)? I would say no, also thinking of possible dangers and accidents: from a collision with a car to falling off without other contributing causes and hitting a stationary obstacle, falling off and sliding on the asphalt (normally quite abrasive, especially as scooter riders don’t use protective clothing) or falling off onto softer ground (which would be the least serious situation for the rider’s health). Do we believe that the consequences of these facts are acceptable? Without going into the merits of the legal problems!
Now can I imagine the strong yet just criticisms in the case of a ride without any containment system or any protection at speeds for each rider close to 40km per hour – which incidentally is faster than 11m/sec! – and this without taking into account the surrounding environment. An environment whose importance would be seen in the case of a fall! Fortunately, safety is the first and fundamental objective of all the inspections that municipalities and provinces carry out by applying important checks and procedural systems.
What amazes me most is that as a consequence of the first accidents with electric scooters, some of which have already occurred, a Pandora’s box will open, giving rise to verdicts such as “We need to analyse the problem”, “We need to investigate the reasons for this behaviour” and especially “The authorities are paying close attention to the issue”. And in the end I bet that there will be a committee (never of experts) that will have the ultimate goal of educating scooter riders. But before being scooter riders, aren’t these people citizens who should be educated by their family and at school?
Until next time.
Taken from Games&Parks Industry September 2020, page 92
Ing. Aldo Avancini / Proposta Srl / firstname.lastname@example.org