In its latest filing for its initial public offering, the rideshare company Uber Technologies made a bold prediction: People are going to prefer riding scooters around town to riding in cars during rush hours.
Scooters and e-bikes have taken off in some cities, particularly San Francisco, but the idea that they would actually replace passenger cars for short trips is a much bigger leap.
Especially since Uber says that their use would increase the risk of death or injury and require riders to wear protective gear.
Here’s a passage from Uber’s filing touting their belief in e-bikes and scooters replacing cars:
We believe that dockless e-bikes and e-scooters offer a convenient and cost-effective urban mode of transportation, especially in cities that suffer from substantial traffic during peak commuting hours. During these periods, we believe that these short-distance trips will generally take less time on a dockless e-bike or e-scooter than in a car. Consequently, we believe that dockless e-bikes and e-scooters could replace passenger cars for many trips under three miles.
But in the risk factor section of the filing, Uber says that “user error” of e-bikes and scooters will increase the risk of death:
Consumers may not be technically proficient in using dockless e-bikes and e-scooters, and they may not know to wear, or intentionally choose not to wear, protective equipment designed to enhance the safety of these products, including helmets. User error, together with the failure to use protective equipment, increases the risk of injuries or death while using these products.
Put the two together and you have Uber predicting that people will risk death on scooters rather than endure rush hour traffic.