The Bolt Scooter Safety Report 2020

December 15, 2020

Bolt scooter safety report

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.

2020 in numbers

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:

  • From April 1st – November 30th, 239 Bolt scooter incidents* were reported.
  • Bolt riders reported 1 incident per 80,000 km (or 2.5 incidences per 100,000 trips).

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.

  • Of the 239 incidents involving a Bolt scooter, 155 had an injury recorded.**

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:

  • A 2019 study from Portland showed 2.5 injuries per 10,000 trips from electric scooters.
  • Research from the city of Austin and the CDC reported an injury rate of 14.3 per 100,000 trips. This was based on the analysis of 936,110 trips and 192 people who required hospital visits.

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).

Shifting from cars to scooters in 2020

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.

Bolt scooters

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.

Bolt’s safety programme in 2020

Hardware

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.

Bolt scooter

Here are just some of the Bolt 4 features our in-house teams developed to put rider safety first:

  • Sensors to detect accidents, falls, sharp braking, and unsafe riding patterns;
  • Informative dashboard to guide riders and intelligent voice alerts;
  • Optimised caster angle for safe manoeuvring;
  • Thin deck keeps the floorboard low for better balance;
  • No protruding cables to prevent accidental entanglement;
  • Superior LED lights to ensure high visibility;
  • Pneumatic tyres provide maximum surface grip in all conditions.

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.

Bolt scooter safety

Safety Toolkit and Beginner Mode

Earlier this year, we rolled out Bolt’s Safety Toolkit. This in-app feature helps and encourages responsible scooter usage.

safety toolkit scooters

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:

  • Beginner Mode: invented by Bolt, Beginner Mode limits the maximum speed to 15 km/h and slows down the acceleration profile;
  • “How to ride” tips for beginners;
  • Safety tips: reminders about responsible and safe riding;
  • Local rules: information related to local micromobility regulations.

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.

Making scooter education fun

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.

  • In Lithuania, we launched our ‘Nedėk skerso’ campaign (translated as ‘Don’t block the pavement with your scooter’). The campaign used billboards to encourage riders to consider their fellow commuters when ending a ride. It focused on preventing obstructions and adhering to important safety rules. By showcasing these examples across Lithuania, we raised scooter parking awareness on a national level.

e-scooter parking

  • Following on from the above, we further spread the message of safe parking with our ‘Art of Parking’ campaign in Oslo. By highlighting examples of perfectly parked scooters, we educated riders on what parking should look like — to keep everyone safe.

Scooter Art of Parking

  • In addition to our physical campaigns, we also used social media to promote safety within our rider community. In November, we released a set of safety-themed Instagram Story ads in all Bolt scooter markets. The handy guide ran through crucial safety points to consider before and during scooter rides.

Promoting scooter safety at a local level

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:

  • In Kaunas, we joined forces with the Lithuanian police to educate passers-by on e-scooter safety and give riding tips. We also distributed Bolt helmets so that riders could ride safely and in style.
  • In Vilnius, we partnered with the City Municipality Communication Services for European Mobility Week. Participants could try out Bolt scooters in our makeshift slalom, hear about traffic safety rules and see safety features in the Bolt app.
  • In Lublin, we held a safety event on Car Free Day in September. We took the opportunity to meet with new and existing riders to advise on riding safely and adjusting to the road conditions.

Bolt scooters

Bolt’s Safety School

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).

safety schoolBolt safety school

The future of safe micromobility

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’ll put more emphasis on providing greater rider assistance using our 60+ sensors to warn, suggest and give feedback during and after a trip.
  • We’ll use AI-driven algorithms for riding style analysis to identify dangerous riding and motivate safe riding.
  • We’re developing new functions to analyse multiple-person riding, use of helmets and detecting other safety-related usage.
  • We’ll keep on innovating our hardware to make sure Bolt scooters stay the safest and lightest on the market.

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. 

download the bolt app_scooters

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