In the fast-evolving world of app-based, rent-to-ride programs, e-scooters – also known as electric scooters – seem to be taking localized transportation by storm, drumming up questions of safety, sidewalk access and more. And while it is true that many cities throughout the Northwest haven't welcomed e-scooters just yet, a recent PEMCO poll finds that many Oregon and Washington residents view these vehicles as safe and effective alternatives for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
The latest PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll dives into the hot topic of shared e-scooters programs and shows that 47% of Northwest residents believe e-scooters are a practical way for people to get around urban settings more quickly and efficiently.
Half of Northwest residents (50%) also view these two-wheeled vehicles as at least somewhat safe to ride, while 49% say they are at least somewhat safe to be around. Nearly one in five residents (17%) go a step further, saying that when it comes to the safety of other pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, these vehicles are very or extremely safe for others to be near.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger adults hold more favorable opinions and tend to view e-scooters as safer options: in Washington, 60% of respondents under age 55 said that e-scooters are at least somewhat safe for riders, while only half as many (33%) older adults said the same. Oregon residents shared similar views with 54% of younger adults reporting that e-scooters are safe to ride and only 40% of older adults agreeing.
Younger adults also seem to be more willing to embrace these vehicles. According to the poll, 68% of Northwest residents are aware of e-scooters programs near them, with 21% of respondents under the age of 55 saying they've given them a try. Fewer than one in ten (5%) adults over 55 said the same.
"As many cities throughout the Northwest flirt with the idea of implementing e-scooter programs, it is understandable how residents could see the positive side of this new mode of transportation," said Derek Wing, PEMCO spokesperson. "E-scooters can be a fun and convenient way to get from point A to point B, but make sure to slow your roll and pay full attention to your surroundings, keeping your eyes on what's most important: getting where you need to be safely."
PEMCO recommends the following to help make the roads as safe as possible for people on and off these electric devices:
- Take careful note of your surroundings and use caution around other pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. If it's your first time using an e-scooter, start off slowly until you are familiar with the controls and are confident in your driving ability.
- Use bike lanes whenever possible and confirm whether e-scooters are allowed on sidewalks in the city you're riding in.
- Wear a helmet, and never try to ride tandem on the same device.
- Ride without distractions, such as headphones or cell phones, and never ride under the influence.
- When done, park your borrowed vehicle out of the public right of way – keeping walkways, driveways, access ramps and fire hydrants clear.
For a complete summary of PEMCO's proprietary poll results visit www.pemco.com/blog/nw-polls, where you'll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in October 2019.
About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 578 respondents in Washington and 427 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.2 and 4.8% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.
Supplemental interviews were conducted with people living in the Seattle metro area, including King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and those in the Portland metro area, including Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties. The sample size, 578 respondents in the Seattle area and 509 in the Portland area, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.2% and +/- 4.4% respectively at the 95% confidence level.