Electric scooters come in various shapes, sizes, designs, and features but riding them across the world has definitely created tensions. No matter if we’re talking about scooters from Razor or other brands, riding them in India and other countries could not only prove illegal but also dangerous.
For the past few years, electric scooters have increased in popularity as more and more people looked for alternative means of transportation that are cheap and fast. First developed as toys for children and adults alike, the latest versions of the electric scooters seem to get closer to the looks of true motorbikes, reaching high speeds and coming with futuristic designs.
However, they raised quite the controversies as they are not properly regulated in one country’s law, at least not to this day.
Although more countries are taking a step forward into this direction and imposing a set of rules on how to properly ride and handle an electric scooter, other countries like India still have some catching up to do. Let’s take a closer look at these vehicles and understand their importance in today’s society.
What are electric scooters?
Electric scooters often refer to motorized vehicles that use two, three or four wheels to move over various distances without using gas or any other type of fuel. They use a rechargeable battery and, most likely, are limited to 12-15 mph.
The most popular versions remain the two-wheeled vehicles that are mainly operated by teenagers and youngsters all around the world.
Although most of them are only operated by batteries, some hybrid models can be used as regular scooters whenever you run out of power, which makes them more convenient in the long term and over longer distances.
How old do you have to be to ride an e-scooter?
As we previously mentioned, regulations regarding the use of electric scooters are far from being universally accepted or even properly described, so it’s hard to make assumptions. Until recently, most countries didn’t come up with strict rules regarding the minimum age of the driver of such vehicles but this changed, as electric scooters became more popular.
Currently, in most countries, you have to be at least 16 years old to be able to ride an electric scooter, and this is also the case of India. However, the Road and Transport Ministry of India has decided that you also must hold a valid driving license in order to be able to handle these scooters.
This mainly involves powerful vehicles that can reach a total speed of up to 70 km per hour. But, when it comes to the general use of electric scooters that don’t exceed the speed of 20-25 km per hour, you won’t be needing a driver’s license.
Similar laws apply in almost all countries in Europe and even in the United States, although each state is free to add its own regulations or adjust the current laws, according to its needs.
Why are electric scooters the new hype?
Although they have been on the market for about two decades now, it wasn’t until the past 5-6 years that they became mainstream. One reason behind this is that manufacturing technologies became cheaper, which made these vehicles more affordable for people of all ages. In other words, what was once considered a luxury now is seen as a viable alternative to cars and public transportation.
However, part of the reason why electric scooters increased in popularity is that they don’t require gas or any other type of fuel to work. This makes them extremely affordable in the long term as well, especially for youngsters who need to get to school or practice fast.
Did we mention they are also safe for the environment? Living in a large city comes with many downsides, including the low quality of the air which is often extremely polluted. In a desperate attempt to save our fragile ecosystem and raise awareness about the negative impacts of polluting vehicles, more and more people decided to look into greener alternatives.
Electric scooters have zero carbon footprint, meaning they are 100% safe for the environment. They won’t pollute, contributing to better air quality. If more people would ditch their regular cars in favor of these smaller, electric vehicles, we would be able to breathe fresh air once more.
So what truly distinguishes these smaller vehicles from other electric cars and even buses? They are not only lightweight and easy to store but they can also fit in narrow places that would be impossible to reach by personal cars. This is extremely convenient, especially early in the morning when the traffic is awful and most people try to get to work on time.
Depending on the country, electric scooters can be operated on the streets or on bike lanes, allowing people to avoid traffic jams and reach their destinations faster.
You don’t even have to worry about a parking space. When we’re referring to small electric scooters that are limited to 15-20 km per hour, some of the models are foldable or collapsible, which makes them easy to store and carry with you anywhere you go. They can be kept in the lobby or in regular parking spots but won’t occupy as much space as a regular car or motorcycle.
Lastly, they are fun to ride. You won’t be needing any special skills or too many driving hours to handle these vehicles.
Is it safe to ride an electric scooter in India?
Each country comes with its own traffic rules and regulations, and India is no exception. Unfortunately, we all know that these rules are often broken as most drivers engage in reckless moves that lead to accidents and injuries.
India ranks as the first or second nation in the world with the worst traffic, and this includes overcrowded streets, inexperienced drivers, and the lack of any sense of decency when it comes to the red and green lights. In other words, both pedestrians and drivers push the limits of the already heavy traffic in order to get to their destination faster, without worrying too much about the other participants.
Unfortunately, bikers and scooter riders don’t have it easier. On the contrary, they are often neglected or ignored by car drivers, meaning that riding a two-wheel vehicle in this country is even more dangerous than in other states.
When it comes to electric scooters, the smaller versions of these are allowed on the bike lines and on the streets as long as they follow all other traffic rules and regulations. Riders must wear mandatory protective equipment that includes a helmet and a reflective vest to be seen from a distance.
Riding an electric scooter is not feasible over long distances yet as batteries still have low autonomy. However, this is perhaps a good thing, especially since international laws and regulations didn’t agree on the status of these vehicles so far, and many rules regarding their use remain uncertain.
India is no exception to the rule. With poor infrastructure and an over-polluted environment, one would think that local authorities would be pleased to accept these green alternatives into the daily traffic. Unfortunately, scooters that reach high speeds of up to 70-80 km per hour are still quite expensive and not many people afford to invest in them.
On the other hand, regular electric scooters that are limited to lower speeds don’t seem like a good alternative since distances in this country are quite long and it would take more than one recharge to reach your destination.