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Safety Related Behaviors and Law Adherence of Shared E-Scooter Riders in Germany

Siebert, Felix Wilhelm; Hoffknecht, Michael; Englert, Felix; Edwards, Timothy; Useche, Sergio A.; Rötting, Matthias

Shared e-scooters, whose supply and coverage keeps increasing in many cities around the globe, are rapidly changing mobility in urban road environments. As rising injury rates have been observed alongside this new form of mobility, researchers are investigating potential factors that relate to safe/unsafe e-scooter use. In Germany, e-scooter sharing platforms were only recently permitted in the middle of 2019, and their number has increased steadily since then. The aim of this study was to assess key factors that relate to their safe use, through a direct observation of e-scooters conducted at three observation sites around Berlin. Helmet use, dual use, type of infrastructure use, and travel direction correctness were registered for 777 shared e-scooters during 12.5 h of observation. Results reveal a high level of rule infractions, with more than one quarter of observed shared e-scooter riders using incorrect infrastructure, and one in ten e-scooter users riding against the direction of traffic. Dual use (i.e., two riders per e-scooter), was observed for 5.1% of shared e-scooters. Moreover, none of the riders observed in this study used a helmet on their shared e-scooter. These results point to a need for better communication and enforcement of existing traffic rules regarding infrastructure use and dual use. Further, they indicate a lack of efficacy of safety-related advice of shared e-scooter providers, who promote helmet use in their smartphone application and directly on their e-scooters.
Published in: HCI in Mobility, Transport, and Automotive Systems (HCII 2021), 10.1007/978-3-030-78358-7_31, Springer