Shared electric scooters can help to reduce dependence on private cars and make cities more liveable.
But for shared scooters to provide sustainable and equitable benefits to cities, they mustn’t perpetuate one of the critical problems caused by private cars — occupying overwhelming proportions of public space in urban areas, leaving little room for pedestrians.
The prevalence and causes of poor scooter parking
Solutions to ensure correct shared scooter parking are critical to their long-term viability.
Although studiesfrom the United States suggest that only 2–3% of parked scooters impede pedestrian access, every instance of poor scooter parking poses a safety risk. This is especially true for people with disabilities, such as wheelchair users and those with visual impairments, who need pedestrian walkways to be clear of clutter to navigate urban environments safely.
Various regulatory and technological solutions can contribute to solving this issue, but any long-term solution needs to be multi-faceted.
But first, it’s essential to understand what drives poor parking habits among scooter riders in the first place.
According to one study that surveyed scooter riders in five different cities, 68% of respondents who misparked a scooter said that they did so because they didn’t know the parking rules or the rules were unclear.
Meanwhile, 61% of respondents said they parked correctly because they care about how their parking might affect other travellers.
These results suggest that most users are conscientious about how their parking behaviour impacts others, but greater clarity on where and how to park would improve habits.
Existing scooter parking solutions
Based on this information, there are many ways to approach this problem. While precise regulation and education are undoubtedly essential, providing riders with parking areas and clear visual indications about where to find them is vital.
These parking areas can come in multiple forms, such as painted areas on pavements or more readily visible infrastructure like parking racks.
With sufficient signage, these solutions can provide scooter riders with strong visual cues to know where to leave scooters after a ride. Since similar solutions already work for bikes, applying this system to scooters would make sense.
However, while these can help address the parking issue, it’s worth considering whether parking solutions can provide additional benefits beyond keeping pedestrian spaces safe and uncluttered.
How Bolt charging docks can help
Bolt’s industry-exclusive charging docks help encourage secure scooter parking and provide sustainability benefits to cities.
How they work
After stepping off the scooter, the rider simply pushes the two-wheeler into the charging socket;
This automatically ends their current ride and begins charging the scooter battery.
It’s a simple process that provides users with straightforward, safe, and convenient scooter parking.
And by strategically placing charging docks in locations with high pedestrian traffic, like transit terminals, they can help ensure the availability of charged scooters in high-demand areas. It’s a win-win.
Meanwhile, charging docks help keep scooters upright and pedestrian pathways clear of potential hazards.
What makes Bolt charging docks unique is that in addition to providing a parking solution, they boost operational efficiency in several ways. They reduce the need for Bolt’s operational teams to manually swap scooter batteries, thereby reducing the number of motor vehicles on the road.
Not only does taking motor vehicles off the road improve safety for vulnerable road users (80% of scooter and bike fatalities involve an accident with a motor vehicle, according to the International Transport Forum), but doing so can provide significant sustainability benefits as well.
So far, we’ve installed 30 charging docks in Tallinn, Estonia, and based on our data, these docks are already reducing over 300 kg of CO2 emissions per month.
There are additional charging docks operating in Lithuania and Portugal, with plans for further growth in these countries, plus Latvia, Ireland, and Poland. This level of expansion would likely lead to carbon dioxide emissions savings of over three tonnes per month.
The latest generation of charging docks can also accommodate Bolt’s shared bikes and vehicles owned by other operators (with the addition of a charging adapter). As a result, the impact could be even higher.
Matching city infrastructure with transport goals
Shared scooters are still a new form of transportation that will be refined and improved over time.
We’re continually working to implement such incremental improvements. But to fundamentally overhaul the urban transportation system, it’s crucial to think bigger.
For cities, one of the ways to think big is to reprioritise how public space and infrastructure are used — moving away from today’s car-dominated paradigm and building toward people-centred cities of the future.
Bolt charging docks offer one new avenue for cities to reallocate infrastructure and space toward alternative transport in a way that reduces private car dependence, improves scooter parking habits, and enhances road safety sustainably.