The electric scooter

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One of the first things that I noticed about the Shenzhen streets was the prevalence of the electric scooter. They are ridden by young people and old people. They’re used for delivery services, commuting to and from work and going to the buy the groceries.

They aren’t slick looking Tron light bike type conveyances, or Something worthy of Shotaro Kaneda’s bike that would fit into the Neo Tokyo-like streets of central Shenzhen. Instead the electric scooter looks like an emaciated Honda Cub. It all comes across a bit half-arsed.

Electric scooter, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

They represent the cheapest form of powered transport in urban China.

These are probably the scariest things that you are likely to encounter in China, short of being invited to drink tea with the authorities. They are fast enough to be dangerous, but slow enough to be annoying for other road users. They make no sound, not even the rushing of tires on road surface.

The riders tend to have little skill and view fellow road users as potential targets. They are also not ridden only ridden on the road, but on the pavements and pedestrians have to be constantly in a high state of vigilance watching out for errant electric scooter riders. This being China, no fucks are given. If you wipe out on the pavement, they’ll just ride on. They’re absurdly dangerous.

Finally, given that most of China’s electricity supply comes from coal fired power stations; and your scooter will last a few years at best – their green credentials are somewhat lacking. More design related content here.