Many e-scooter rental companies that have earned the status of Unicorn in record-breaking time – less than 2 years – are proudly proving that e-scooter rental business is the most profitable business of the 21st century. However, it emerged with many controversies and one of the major controversies is fatalities caused by these tiny and cute-looking e-scooters. Thus, many local authorities have banned e-scooters running on the streets. Recently, it popped up as the major restriction, holding back many new e-scooter rental startups. But fortunately, an alliance of entrepreneurs and e-scooter rental companies have discovered the hope – a few simple ways to kick off the e-scooter rental company and not disobey any of the laws related to e-scooters.
In this blog, I am going to share the same. I will reveal top laws an e-scooter sharing company is supposed to satisfy. I will also illustrate the ways to easily satisfy it with the help of technology. But before all of this, let me just report you how e-scooter rental companies are fighting the battle against the government of London and London’s 150+ years old laws which are enslaving this futuristic mode of transportation!
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2019’s e-scooter rental companies vs U.K government’s Law, dating back to 1835
E-scooters are there in all major cities of the U.K, with one notable exception – London. A law which was imposed in 1835, not letting e-scooter rental companies deploy their e-scooters on the streets of London. The battle has heated up this summer when police ran a campaign to arrest the early-adopters of e-scooters and suspend their driving license.
However, e-scooter sharing startups have rolled up the sleeves and held many meetings with governments to be gifted with permission. On July 19, a delegation of 20 people who belonged to top e-scooter sharing companies like Bird, Lime, Bold, Circ, and Tier, met the former U.K transport minister Michael Ellis in a small room at the Houses of Parliament in London. The meeting went well, but the timing was worse as just days before, on July 12, a well-known YouTube star Emily Hartridge was killed while she was on an e-scooter.
However, that death didn’t freeze the Bird’s ambition. They found a loophole in the law and launched a small pilot program within the London Olympic park. This was the successful pilot project and Bird sent the takeaways of their pilot project to TfL’s director of innovation, Michel Hurwitz. Even though Bird hasn’t managed to hit the jackpot yet!
Most common globally identified laws and ways to obey it for e-scooter startups
The most fundamental requirement of running an e-scooter sharing company is to satisfy the local laws. If you fail to do so, you can trap into a very prolonged legal battle which costs you time and money. Thus, I always encourage micro-mobility startups to take studying the local laws and identifying ways to obey it on the top priority. Since many laws can only be answered with the proper use of technology, you should ask the e-scooter app development company to develop an app in such a way that it does not work beyond the government’s expectations and makes running an e-scooter rental company fun for you.
The following are the most common rules governments of all over the globe have imposed to regulate the e-scooters.
While you lodge an application to get an operation license, the government may ask you to tell them your strategies to educate and train users, which should result in safe operations of scooters.
How to answer it?
In order to satisfy this law, you can add a feature in the app which shows a video guide or written instructions to either only first-time riders or all riders. Many top e-scooter rental companies like Bird and Lime whose success rate of getting the operational license is more than 90%, follow the same way to train the users and to entertain government’s one of the laws.
When it comes to the speed of the e-scooter, governments become really unshakable because they believe the high speeding causes most of the e-scooter accidents. In most of the urban cities, the law demands e-scooters to remain below 20MPH. However, many governments have taken this law to the next level by asking operators to introduce GPS-based speed control in the e-scooters. Meaning, when an e-scooter approaches the school, the speed of the e-scooter should be automatically reduced.
How to answer it?
The only way you can satisfy this law is through the IoT controller. IoT controller which controls the IoT features of the e-scooter and so does the e-scooter, you can introduce GPS-based speed control by customizing the IoT controller or by purchasing only those e-scooters which are equipped with GPS-based speed control enabled IoT controller.
Another law an e-scooter rental company has to satisfy is the proper parking of the e-scooters. For many times, riders end the ride and park e-scooters in a very inappropriate manner which narrows the street access for other people and increases the chances of accidents. Thus, governments have imposed three major laws related to the parking of e-scooters. These laws are:
- An e-scooter sharing company has to educate the riders to park e-scooter properly.
- An e-scooter sharing company has to ask the riders to upload a photo of the last parked location every time when they end the ride.
- If an e-scooter sharing company discovers the poorly parked e-scooter, the company has to replace it in a legal space within 2 hours of discovery.
How to answer it?
There are several ways to answer this law. Firstly, you can educate people to park e-scooter properly by showing the video the same as riding training. Secondly, you can integrate a feature in the app which asks the rider to take the photo of parked e-scooter at the end of every ride. You can use this data to find more ways of satisfying parking related laws. And lastly, you can be a partner with local authorities to build proper parking spaces on the streets.
An e-scooter rental company is deploying smart e-scooters on the road along with the mobile app. These smart e-scooters and mobile app work parallel and do not only collect the data of users, but they collect the data of traffic and streets. A local government can study this data to identify the traffic patterns and streets needed urgent improvement. So to satisfy this need, they have imposed a law that says that an operator has to share user and usage data with them, every day.
How to answer it?
Here, you have to derive benefits from the app module. An app module that stores every user and usage data, processes it and shares it automatically with the local authority at the fixed time. Except this, there isn’t any other way.
To sustain the safety of riders, governments don’t allow e-scooter rental companies to let users ride the e-scooters after 10 PM. In fact, they want operators to clear off all e-scooters from the streets before 10 PM and deploy at least 10-20% of the fleet at each zone before 5 AM.
How to answer it?
To address such a challenge, a vehicle management module in the admin panel comes to the rescue. It shows all e-scooters, their battery power, and their current location. So, from a single window, you can keep an eagle eye on your e-scooters and their locations at any given time. If a hired e-scooter app development company adds filtration option in it, then identifying the e-scooters and their location becomes easier.
Here are some more laws related to e-scooter sharing business.
- A vendor must retrieve any e-scooter that is nonfunctional within 2 hours.
- A vendor must print out contact information on each e-scooter.
- A vendor must run a 24-hour-toll-free helpline number.
- A vendor is not allowed to use its fleet for the advertisement of other companies or products.
- A vendor must be equipped with photo and geofencing technology to ensure parking compliance.
- A vendor must not rent out e-scooter to someone who is below 18 and not with a guardian.
In the nutshell:
The e-scooter rental business is the most profitable business. But to make it more profitable, startups should figure out ways to answer the laws. Because from where we are standing, the future of regulation-free e-scooter sharing business is looking blurry. So, the only choice left with e-scooter sharing startups is to not waste resources to override the governments, but use resources to satisfy the laws. With the help of advanced technology, every law is possible to obey, for both machines and humans.
About the Author
Vishal Virani is a Founder and CEO of Coruscate Solutions, a leading e-scooter app development company.. He enjoys writing about the vital role of mobile apps for different industries, custom web development, and the latest technology trends.