TFLscooter: Which is the Best E-Scooter and Are They Safe? [Video]

We put four popular rental scooters to the test

Ride sharing E-Scooters are popping up in many major cities across the US. While they look like a lot of fun, there are many questions we have about the E-Scooters. In typical TFL fashion, we decided to go out in the real world and do some testing to answer two questions: Which is the best E-Scooter company, and are they safe to ride in large cities?

Which is the Best?

To determine the best brand, we went ahead and did some instrumented testing in Denver. Our testing primarily wanted to compare the top speed, acceleration, and braking performance of each scooter. However, we also compared the scooters based on their size, features and pricing.

We went ahead and rented scooters from four different scooter sharing companies: Bird, Lime, Lyft and Razor. We realized that many of the manufacturers have different models in service, and that some of the companies use the same scooters. So, we tried to find as many different scooters as we could, to perform a comprehensive test.

To measure top speed, we gave Tommy a Solo DL GPS performance timer, meant to measure 0-60 times, and sent him off on a stretch of empty sidewalk with each scooter. For our braking test, we setup a cone to mark the point at which we must apply the brakes. Then, we had a second cone to mark the stopping point and measure the stopping distance. The stopping distance test was designed to stop the scooters from their top speed. We found that to be the most logical test, as riders would likely ride around at top speed most of the time.

The results:

Brand Top Speed Stopping Distance
Razor 14 MPH 32 Feet
Lime 18 MPH 25 Feet
Lyft 15 MPH 28 Feet
Bird 13 MPH 21 Feet

 

The clear performance leader here is the Lime scooter. It had by far the highest top speed, and a remarkably good braking distance despite its extra velocity. The Lime scooter also featured by far the largest frame of the scooters we tested. Last but not least, Lime-S was the only scooter we tested that featured a speedometer in the handlebars. Results from our Solo DL showed that this speedometer was pretty accurate to boot. In most cases, it was optimistic about its speed by no more than 1 MPH.

What about Safety?

This question was tough to answer. On one hand, these scooters are super fun to zip around on. They offer cheap, quick transportation with an element of fun. However, safety seems to be an afterthought on these scooters. In Denver, riders are required to ride on the sidewalk, mingling with pedestrians and other obstacles on a regular basis. Furthermore, the brakes, as we tested, didn’t inspire much confidence.

You essentially have to plan out all your maneuvers 30 feet in advance to ensure you don’t hit anything. Plus, helmets are completely unmonitored. Every scooter and their app will tell you helmets are required. However, none of the scooters have any way of forcing riders to wear a helmet. Finally, there is little in place to vet who can even ride the scooters. All the apps will take a photo of your driver’s license to ensure you are 18 years old. However, that is it. There is no safety lesson, anyone can ride right away.

In short, the safety precautions taken by the scooter companies seem minimal when you think about how potentially dangerous these machines are. Despite the fun factor and convenience, the scooters may still be unsafe for some.

To hear more of our thoughts on these ride-sharing scooters, you’ll have to watch the whole video. Also stay tuned to TFLcar.com for the latest news, views & real-world reviews. Plus, more E-Scooter reviews!

Michael Curtis
Michael has always had a passion for things with four wheels and an engine. His parents often joked that his first word was "Porsche." He currently works for TFL full time as an editor, videographer, presenter & writer. In his spare time, he stays plugged into the car community through meets and other events.