Summer of 2020 was a good time and Wild West and e-scooters in Scandinavia. Rental companies had flocked to local cities – Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen among themselves – believing they would become easy e-scooter converters because of their well-established cycling culture and their constant interest. As city officials debated how to set up a system for new and unallocated companies, e-scooter printing presses were arriving with thousands, finding willing riders everywhere.
The free floating type – where e-scooters can be dropped or carried anywhere – has raised concerns about the chaos they have created and the dangers they have created. Damaged e-scooter videos have infuriated the media. There were reports of injuries that filled the drunken riders. For people who had an eye problem, their cities were becoming a very heavy burden. “There were many accidents,” says Terje André Olsen, president of the Norwegian Association of the Blind, a mobilization organization with more than 8,000 members, speaking from Oslo. “Many older people did not dare to go out, and people often used taxis to get to work because it was difficult to get paid.” That summer, he adds, he counted 40 e-scooters on the way to the 35-minute trek to work.
The e-scooter industry, however, only focused on the high demand. “The first thing we noticed [after arriving in the region in 2018] and that jobs were more widely used than in other parts of Europe, ”says Alan Clarke, UK and Nordic policy director at the US-based e-scooter startup. Lime, adding that the company’s e-scooters in the area go up to five to six times a day. In response to these statistics, companies began to expand their operations. “We would have started with a few hundred scooters, and I think we will reach the peak of Copenhagen. [in 2020], we had several thousand, ”says Clarke. The epidemic also boosted the business, with companies selling their services to both riders and investors as a clean, green way to travel around cities that do not share the same air as bus and train passengers. By the summer of 2021, Oslo’s Urban Environment Agency, the state department responsible for the city’s environment, reports there were 30,000 e-scooters in the Norwegian capital, or 200 scooters per 10,000 inhabitants, meaning they had more e-scooters per person than any other city in the world. These figures were not very high in some parts of Scandinavia, but the agency said that in Stockholm there were 125 e-scooters per 10,000 inhabitants – still the highest in Europe: Berlin, Paris, and Rome all dropped to 50.
As the number of Scandinavian e-scooters increased, so did the ideas about the companies they brought. “It is a forest. It ‘s disruptive, “said Daniel Helldén, deputy mayor of Stockholm, with the number of e-scooters almost tripled from 2019 to 2021, jumping from 8,500 to 23,000.” The biggest problem is parking. If you are disabled in some way, it is a serious problem.
The systematic breakdown of the system has quickly followed the growing anger. Over the past year, Nordic countries have been trying to fight off their heads from these new companies and drive e-scooter companies out of their cities. The low cost and the cost of using large e-scooters means that rental companies have abandoned their long-term relationship with the cities they operate, says David Mothander, Bolt’s head of public policy at Nordics. “Companies can be enticed to be visually impaired and try to flood the streets and get better. But without fail, cities will do as we have seen in Oslo or Stockholm or Copenhagen. In other words, we are responsible for this.”