8 years into America’s e-scooter experiment, what have we learned?

When the sharing economy took off in the 2010s and upended entire industries, the firmest proponents of the model heralded it as an economic revolution that would help slash emissions. Of all the ideas that emerged and dissolved over the years, shareable electric scooters seemed to possess the most promise for climate. Almost anyone with a smartphone and a credit card could grab one and ride it down the block or across town, eschewing automobiles.

Yet, as the industry matures and Lime — which, with operations in 280 cities worldwide, is the biggest player — moves further into its eighth year, researchers have shown that the eco-friendly dreams of shared micromobility have not materialized without problems. The true climate benefits of these fleets depends upon how companies deploy and manage them, and safety remains a concern as injuries climb. But industry leaders appear intent on ensuring their scooters are as sustainable and safe as possible.

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