(NBC) – More companies are banking on the future of two-wheeled transportation.
Rachel Holt, VP of New Mobility Uber, says “We’re seeing this is actually growing faster than ride sharing.”
Uber rolled out a fleet of scooters and e-bikes in Santa Monica, California with the goal of being a one-stop shop for transportation.
Holt adds, “Imagine being about to take a scooter to transit stop and having an Uberpool pick you up.”
Lyft expanded its own branded scooters to Washington, D.C. this week, but rideshares are joining a crowded market, following companies including Bird and Lime already deployed in dozens of cities across the U.S.
These electric scooters can move upwards of 15 miles per hour with riders rarely wearing helmets, raising safety concerns for riders and pedestrians.
A scooter rider in D.C. was killed when he was hit by an SUV, and in Dallas, a father is mourning the loss of his 24 year-old son.
Says Jack Stoneking, who lost his son, “You shouldn’t have to bury your kids.”
Two deaths involving Lime scooters in just one month.
“They’re very dangerous,” says Stoneking, “And i wouldn’t recommend people being on them.”
Some markets are banning the devices all together while others are grappling with regulation.
The new trends in transportation may also require upgrades in infrastructure.
Holt says, “We see more and more cities investing in protected bike lanes.”
An ongoing challenge for communities to address problems without stifling innovation.
Bird has publicly offered to help fund new infrastructure, including new street lanes, that could help keep cyclists and scooter riders safer. Almost all of the electric scooter companies have offered to give away free helmets as well.
California recently back-tracked on their helmet law. The governor signed a bill in September removing the helmet requirement for electric scooters. Many cities still require riders to wear helmets, though it’s rarely enforced.