Pedestrians and E-Scooters: An Initial Look at E-Scooter Parking and Perceptions by Riders and Non-Riders
Swiderski, J. I.
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Since 2018, pedestrians in many U.S. cities have been sharing sidewalk space with dockless shared e-scooters. The introduction of e-scooters has received pushback from pedestrians. Complaints reported in the media include e-scooters blocking walkways and sidewalks when parked illegally as well as safety concerns from pedestrians who do not feel safe around moving e-scooters. However, little is known beyond a few initial studies on e-scooter parking and anecdotes about pedestrian perceptions of e-scooter safety. Our case study from Rosslyn, Virginia, helps shed light on these two issues. First, we conducted a survey of 181 e-scooter riders and non-riders asking about their perceived safety around riders of e-scooters and experiences of sidewalks blocked by e-scooters. We found highly divergent responses about safety and sidewalk blocking perceptions from riders and non-riders. Second, we conducted an observational study of 606 parked e-scooters along three mixed-use corridors in Rosslyn to investigate the relationship between the built environment and e-scooter parking. We found that 16% of 606 observed e-scooters were not parked properly and 6% (36 e-scooters) were blocking pedestrian right-of-way. Moreover, our survey showed that e-scooter trips in Rosslyn replaced trips otherwise taken by Uber, Lyft, or a taxi (39%), foot (33%), bicycle (12%), bus (7%), or car (7%).