Bolt today announced a new product feature for its fleet of mobility scooters, enabling vehicles to score the rider based on relevant safety parameters, such as abrupt halts, tandem scooter rides and illegal parking.
Dubbed the "reckless rider score", Bolt's system is described as the first such comprehensive rider behaviour system in the micro-mobility industry. If the rider's score is deemed within the top 2% of recklessness in a given city, then Bolt could issue a seven-day account suspension but only once they've had a chance to implement sensible habits on five journeys afterwards. Speeds for these journeys will be restricted from Bolt's 20-25km/hr top speeds to 15km/hr.
Germany and Portugal are already trialling the feature, ahead of scaling into "other markets throughout the season", Bolt said.
The Estonian company has grown to become Europe's largest micro-mobility scooter fleet with more than 230,000 scooters and e-bikes predicted to be in operation by the end of last year.
The company has teamed up with urban infrastructure Steer to publish an annual safety report about customer riding behaviours: in 2021 the data found injuries fell 26% year/year while accidents were reduced by 12%.
Steer head of new mobility Matthew Clark comments: "Shared micromobility has significant potential to reduce car trips in our cities. To unlock this potential, a strong focus on the safety of shared micromobility is vital."
"This approach can maximise user confidence in e-scooters as a new mode of transport and give cities confidence to facilitate provision of long-term partnerships with operators.
"Steer is pleased to support the research behind this report which demonstrates Bolt’s commitment to placing the safety of e-scooter users and non-users at the core of their shared e-scooters operations.”
Dmitri Pivovarov, Bolt VP for rentals, added: "As announced in our latest Scooter Safety Report, in 2021 we decreased the number of injuries by 26% and accidents involving our scooters by 12%, while increasing the number of rides 5 times in comparison to 2020.
"However, we constantly raise the bar for the safety of our service. This is why we hope that standards included in our pledge and rider’s score will become an inspiration for the whole industry,”
Bolt previously rolled out measures to address drunken and drug-related accidents after a Finnish research study found more than 50% of scooter crashes were related to alcohol use or narcotics. The programme uses cognitive reaction tests to determine whether the rider is under the influence, and Bolt also runs educational campaigns to inform customers of the dangers.