December 15, 2020
This year, we’ve expanded our scooter operations to more than 45 cities in 15 countries across Europe. And these numbers are set to soar in 2021.
Compared to cars, rental scooters are a new phenomenon and this inevitably raises questions about their safety and benefits.
At Bolt, we place safety at the core of our scooter operations. We prioritise safety so that everyone — from riders and pedestrians to city councils and communities — can rest assured when Bolt scooters enter their city.
An important factor of safety is the transparency of data to ensure that a discussion around safety can be factual. The data in this report is evidence of Bolt’s scooter riding data and the steps we’ve taken in 2020 to make our scooter one of the safest in the world.
We collated data from this scooter season (April 1st – November 30th 2020) across all Bolt markets to measure our safety. Here’s what 2020 looked like:
In comparison, a competing scooter operator reported findings of 1 incidence and injury per 43,452 km.
This represents almost half as many incidents for Bolt compared to this competitor.
This represents 1 injury per 123,354 km (or 1.7 injuries per 100,000 trips). This is almost three times lower than for the competing scooter operator.
Let’s measure Bolt’s injury rate against pioneering research studies on scooter injuries from the US:
In both studies, injury rates hugely outweigh the Bolt statistic of 1.7 injuries per 100,000 trips.
* An incident is anything safety-related reported through the Bolt app.
** Definition of injury includes anything as small as a minor graze or bruise.
We believe that the lower incident numbers can be attributed to the conscious, deliberate and innovative safety work of Bolt, as further described under Bolt’s safety programme in 2020.
But despite our lower scooter incident numbers compared to industry norms, we are not satisfied and will not rest. In a perfect world, our incident and injury rates would be zero.
Bringing the injury level down to zero is something that our teams are working tirelessly towards. They act behind the scenes by consistently working to optimise our hardware, software and rider education (more on these later).
More generally, research has indicated that replacing private cars with scooters can cut road injuries and deaths. The International Transport Forum’s ‘Safe Micromobility’ paper said:
“A trip by car or by motorcycle in a dense urban area is much more likely to result in the death of a road user — this includes pedestrians — than a trip by a Type A micro-vehicle. A modal shift from motor vehicles towards Type A micro-vehicles can thus make a city safer. A shift from walking to Type A micro-vehicles would have the opposite effect.”
The modal shift as described above is something we’ve encouraged throughout 2020 — thereby helping to reduce road injuries and fatalities.
Bolt is the only European mobility company that actively provides both transportation options, side-by-side, in one application. This means we can — and do — proactively encourage riders to consider a scooter over private-hire cars. Indeed, 50% of UK Bolt users said they’d choose a scooter over a private-hire vehicle for journeys of up to 5 km.
Data also widely supports the notion that speed is to blame for a high proportion of scooter-related injuries. The Austin study found that 63% of injured riders had ridden a scooter nine times or fewer before an injury and that over a third had reported excessive speed as the injury cause.
With speed a concern for riders and pedestrians, we’ve taken pre-emptive measures to combat this in 2020. In July, we introduced our Safety Toolkit to the Bolt app, featuring a Beginner Mode that limits speed and acceleration profiles for those taking their first few rides.
Our scooters also feature a maximum speed of 25 km/h to help prevent speeding-related injuries.
At Bolt, safety starts with designing our scooters, a process that we fully control.
In July, we launched our custom scooter, featuring inflatable tyres, front and rear lights and the aforementioned Beginner Mode, all engineered with safety in mind.
But our commitment to rider safety didn’t stop there.
December’s launch of the new Bolt 4, set a new standard in micromobility safety, with the model becoming the safest scooter on the market.
Here are just some of the Bolt 4 features our in-house teams developed to put rider safety first:
To further support our riders’ safety, we also stepped in where necessary.
Firstly, our teams on the ground have proactively removed scooters from streets when it’s not safe to ride, when competing operators haven’t (in freezing temperatures, for example). And our innovative geofencing satellite technology provides voice messaging guidance when entering no riding, slow speed and no parking zones.
Earlier this year, we rolled out Bolt’s Safety Toolkit. This in-app feature helps and encourages responsible scooter usage.
We appreciate that no matter how safe our scooter models, education is critical in making scooter riding safe for everyone.
The Safety Toolkit, which is easily accessible from the Bolt app’s home screen, has the following elements:
Since its launch in July, it’s been great to see our riders using the resources in the Toolkit. Bolt’s Beginner Mode has proven extremely popular with new riders and we’re glad to see so many other operators adopting this feature to promote a culture of safety.
With safe hardware and software in tow, next up was spreading our safety message to more riders throughout Europe.
In 2020, we worked with local authorities across countries to proactively promote safety and put it front of mind for our riders. Listed below are just some of the ways we did this.
2020 was a busy year for safety promotion events, and we were pleased to work with so many city authorities to make this happen.
Here’s a selection of events that took place in 2020 where we had the chance to meet riders and discuss safety issues:
To cap the year off, we took the concept of our Safety Toolkit one step further with the new Safety School.
This in-app educational programme offers a more comprehensive guide to safety. The feature guides first-time riders through important safety reminders in an easy-to-use manner, testing their knowledge along the way. The Safety School covers each step of using a Bolt scooter, from unlocking to ending a ride (and everything in between).
With our plans to bring 130,000 scooters and bikes to 100+ cities in 2021, we’re not resting on our safety laurels.
As Europe’s largest micromobility operator in 2021, we recognise our role in helping to promote road safety and fostering a culture of scooter safety before, during and after rides. That’s why we’re excited to introduce additional features next year to ensure rider competence and make safe rides accessible for all.
Here’s what we’re doing for safety in 2021:
We look forward to seeing you on a Bolt scooter next year for safe and affordable rides! Download the Bolt app today and take a ride on the safest scooter in the market.
And again, our ambition is and can not be anything less than aiming at zero incidents during 2021.