Author: George Symes, UK General Manager, Neuron Mobility
It has been over a year since the UK started rental e-scooter trials and the more data we receive and evaluate, the clearer it is that e-scooters are a safe, convenient and sustainable transport option.
They are providing many benefits to cities as well as individual riders, however, there have also been some well-reported incidents. While, like any mode of transport, it’s impossible to eliminate incidents entirely, e-scooter operators need to reduce the risks as much as they can, not just for the riders but also for the wider community.
An essential part of this is encouraging the use of helmets, they are the single most important piece of safety equipment and International research shows that 28 per cent of e-scooter injuries occur to the head or neck. As a responsible operator, with a history of innovation, particularly when it comes to safety, we need to be doing everything we can to encourage and enable people to use them. And the public agrees. A recent poll of over 2,000 UK residents commissioned by Neuron found that eight out of ten people think more needs to be done to encourage helmet use. The vast majority, 68 per cent, also believe that e-scooter operators should be providing helmets as standard. Furthermore, 59 per cent believe helmets should be made mandatory by law, 38 per cent think more education is needed to encourage their use and 23 per cent want to see operators developing more incentives such as money off rides to encourage their use.
Ultimately, enabling, educating and incentivising are all essential parts of the strategy to get people to wear helmets, and Neuron has been consistently working hard to deliver all three. We were the world’s first e-scooter operator to provide an app-controlled helmet lock that secures a helmet to every e-scooter in between trips. Now anyone riding a Neuron e-scooter has the option to wear a helmet at the point of use, which is something every rider deserves. Our research shows that if you provide helmets, then the public will wear them. In our recent polling, 75 per cent of respondents said they would regularly choose to wear one if provided by an e-scooter company, compared to just 52 per cent when no helmet is provided.
But providing the option to wear a helmet only solves part of the problem. Riders need to be educated about the importance of helmets and incentives can play an important role too. We are happy to be working with the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents on a range of education initiatives and this week sees the launch of Neuron’s first annual Helmet Safety Awareness Week. It’s a global campaign to improve helmet use across all the markets we operate in. To mark the occasion Neuron has allocated £100,000 to incentivise helmet use and safe riding, including tripling the incentive offered to users for putting on a helmet before their ride through taking an in-app “Helmet Selfie”.
We are also launching a competition – the “Wear a Helmet Challenge” – inviting participants to submit their best helmet selfies to enter a competition to win a 12-month pass that gives free rides. Alongside this, we will also be holding more of our ScootSafe events, part of a regular series across all our cities, where participants who take a short safety briefing earn free credits for future rides.
As the UK’s cities and riders get more familiar with e-scooters it is important to instil safe practices and habits. We will continue to set higher safety standards for our e-scooter programmes. We know cities appreciate it and know from our polling that the people are looking for better ways to protect themselves too.
We’re proud to be leading the way by launching the UK’s first Helmet Safety Awareness Week and we will continue to work to find new and innovative ways to promote safe and responsible riding that can benefit everyone.