Road safety fears put women off using e-scooters

  • August 1, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Road safety concerns are putting women off using e-scooters, according to a report by Dutch micro-mobility company Dott, which found that 70% of new riders were male.

The research explored the reasons for an imbalance of men and women using shared micro-mobility services and provided recommendations for targeted initiatives to help close the gender gap.

Dott’s research reveals that men make up the majority of new riders (over 70%) across its markets, with the gap narrowing in more established markets such as France and Belgium. The research indicates that more mature markets have a better perception of safety, and women are less likely to indicate that e-scooters are a service for men. As the service becomes more rooted in daily travel, the visibility of women using e-scooters is increasing. 

One fifth of female e-scooter users felt that the vehicles provided a safer alternative than walking or using public transport at night, highlighting the need for reliable shared services round the clock.

Road safety was cited among the highest reasons preventing women from not using e-scooter services (39%). The concerns include perception of safety such as feeling unsteady. A lack of cycling infrastructure is the main factor for fear of using micro-mobility.

Concern around road safety was a greater concern in the UK (35%) and Italy (51%) than in France (20%). The difference could be attributed to maturity in the market, with e-scooters being more widely adopted in France. It could also relate to the level of infrastructure, such as segregated cycle lanes and car-free zones or lower speed limits for cars in each country. For example, in Paris, cars are limited to 30kph, bringing them closer to the speed for e-scooter services.

“This research shows there is gender disparity in the users of shared micro-mobility,” said Laura Hensel from Dott. “As we work towards a service which is accessible to everyone, we want to make it easier for more women to choose shared e-scooters and e-bikes to get around their city in a sustainable, effortless and efficient way.”

Dott will be running a series of free e-scooter training sessions, with one per month reserved for women only. The classes run for one hour on Fridays and Saturdays and aim to provide a safe, comfortable environment for women to trial e-scooters, helping overcome the perception of safety fears and build confidence for independent use on the roads. Following the first sessions in London, Dott will look to introduce the initiative across more markets.

“We hope that our new training sessions will help build confidence in a controlled environment, helping more people take advantage of our vehicles out on the road,” said Hensel.