Ride sober for a safer city – Let’s get it right

May 17, 2022

We recently announced the launch of our international safety campaign – Let’s get it right – which aims to raise awareness about behaviour that puts riders, pedestrians and other road users in danger, such as: riding through red lights, intoxicated riding, pavement riding, twin riding and bad parking.

We would now like to draw your attention to what is widely considered a key cause of incidents involving e-scooters: intoxicated riding.

No matter which vehicle you operate, it’s fair to say that alcohol and traffic just don’t mix. The general consensus is that it’s a terrible idea, even if you’ve “only” had  one drink or two.

Many studies have shown that drinking negatively affects cognitive skills such as reaction time, coordination, concentration, vision and judgement. In other words, drinking reduces your ability to multitask, make quick decisions and act upon them – putting both yourself and other road users in danger. Regardless of whether you feel intoxicated or not, your senses and cognitive functions tell a different story – they start getting affected after consuming just one unit of alcohol.

Nathan Ashley, Strategic Policy Manager Safety & Equity, at Voi, said: “As a micromobility operator with more than 100,000 vehicles on European and UK streets, we have a huge responsibility in terms of making sure our fleet is safe to use, but also ensuring that we educate our riders on how to use our service safely. At the end of the day, it comes down to people – each and every person making responsible decisions that keep both you and others nearby safe. Even for low alcohol levels, riding intoxicated should never be tolerated and we will continue to work with both riders and regulators to minimise drunk riding.”

In most countries, you may be prosecuted under drink or drug driving laws if you go beyond the limit. Dangerous and careless driving offences also apply to e-scooter riders, and e-scooters are subject to the same drink-drive limits as cars in most countries. Since day one, we have supported the idea of riders respecting the same laws on drink driving limits as they would if driving in the country where they live or are visiting. It’s the rider’s responsibility, therefore, to know the traffic rules in the country where they use a shared micromobility service. We also recommend visiting our online traffic school for e-scooters, RideLikeVoila.com, as more than 600,000 riders have done to date.

As part of our Vision Zero strategy, we will continue pushing for strict regulations of this nature and appropriate enforcement. The message from Voi to our riders is simple:

Ride sober for a better city. Let’s get it right.

 

What is Voi doing to prevent drunk riding?

At Voi, we do not, in any way, condone intoxicated riding. One of the ways in which we double down on drunk riding is through our Reaction Test, which is turned on during late night-time hours during the week and from earlier in the evening at weekends, in all of Voi’s towns and cities.

The Reaction Test is exactly what it sounds like – an in-app function that tests a rider’s reactions, which decrease significantly after consuming alcohol. Whether the rider passes or fails, they are advised that drinking and riding is not only dangerous but is also potentially a serious offence. Riders who fail the Reaction Test are encouraged to choose another form of transport.

Max Dyrhage, Product Manager at Voi and responsible for the Reaction Test, said: “We are constantly investigating better ways to prevent drunk riding. The Reaction Test is a good way to remind riders that they are not fit to ride and to take responsibility for their own road behaviour. It serves as a good reminder for anyone that some decisions, no matter how innocent, can have great repercussions and our data shows that it works well.”

Since it was launched in September 2020, Voi estimates that the Reaction Test has helped prevent more than 250,000 potentially dangerous rides and that at least 50,000 riders chose to take a taxi instead.

Supporting the night-time economy

Over the past decade, cities have started to accept changing working patterns and consumer needs, putting a greater focus creating “24-hour” cities. Amsterdam and London are just two cities that have recognised the economic value of night-time activities and have appointed night-time mayors to help foster and grow the economy at night. After all, darkness accounts for 50% of the world’s time, so the potential is huge. 

Having access to micromobility supports people who need to travel or and access goods and services that tie in with the night-time economy. This includes students, commuters, tourists, warehouse staff , key workers and many more. Voi’s data also shows that a significant amount of night-time rides start near hospitals.

 

 

Approximately 70% of Voi’s towns and cities operate 24/7 micromobility services. The night-time debate – whether shared micromobility services should be available all hours of the day or not- has often focused on consumers, with little regard for those who make the night-time economy work.

“Voi recognises the safety implications of drunk riding and we are working to minimise this as well as other operational risks” continues Nathan. “But by removing the choice to use shared micromobility at night entirely, we would also be shutting out the many responsible riders that contribute to the night-time economy – riders who are depending on our service around the clock.”

The green transition

Nearly four years have passed since Voi pioneered shared e-scooters on European streets. In this short period, we have learnt that road safety is one of the most significant risks for the shared micromobility industry. At the same time, micromobility can substantially improve road safety and help us reach ‘Vision Zero’. Shared micromobility has proven to be an enabler for reducing car dependency, helping cities achieve social and environmental goals while also contributing to increased road safety. As this industry matures, we need to manage our safety risks and opportunities in order to realise the potential of making streets safer with shared micromobility.

“If cities truly want to reach their sustainability targets and reduce car dependency, investment is needed to make micromobility an even safer option at night,” Nathan adds. “We also need to see significant improvements to infrastructure – including better road lighting, smoother road surfaces, and protected lanes for micromobility riders. This is supported by our recently published research on e-scooters and gender equity. The green transition needs micromobility, and not just during daytime. ” 


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