Electric kick scooters, or e-scooters as we call them, are great alternatives to using public transport to get around the metro. They can help you beat Metro Manila traffic, and they’re lightweight, portable, and—most important—environment-friendly.
You might have noticed the increasing number of e-scooters on the streets, thanks to the availability of more affordable units on the local market. But despite their practicality, electric kick scooters are slowly turning into a public nuisance on the road.
The problem lies in their overall design and functionality. Certain features that come standard on motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles are critical to road safety, and these features are not found on e-scooters.
The first issue is the lack of a seat, which is a problem when running at higher speeds. Most e-scooters are lightweight and not meant to go fast, so maintaining your balance while riding one wasn’t supposed to be a problem. However, some riders here in Metro Manila do speeds of up to 60kph on wider roads (including EDSA), and stability and safety become big concerns at this point.
These e-scooters also do not have a proper suspension system, so running them over bumps and cracks on the road is dangerous and could easily make a rider go out of balance. The absence of side mirrors is another safety concern, especially since the riding stance on a scooter doesn’t allow for much looking around and back.
What’s more, the most common e-scooter units lack head- and taillamps, turn signals, and brake lights. Instead of having these added on as extra features, riders would rather go for the cheaper option of strapping on lights to their helmets. As for the very few units that do have built-in lights, the illumination provided isn’t really strong enough for riding at night.
Another point of concern is the behavior of some riders—some of them weave through traffic on the road and pedestrians on the sidewalks. Most riders also take off without donning full riding gear, with some not even wearing helmets.
Lastly, e-scooters are not officially registered. Unlike e-bikes, which are required to have orange license plates, e-scooters can freely roam around without proper registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO). In case you forgot, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) ordered a crackdown against all unregistered electric vehicles and bikes a while back, and for good reason.
So, do you think electric kick scooters should be allowed on the road? Answer the poll below, and tell us more about your thoughts and concerns in the comments.