Micromobility rental company Tier is introducing new electric scooters which come with a helmet to protect their riders, the company announced today. 200 of the helmet-equipped scooters will be deployed to Paris and Berlin this month, followed by 5,000 more over the course of the summer. Tier says it’s the first e-scooter company to introduce integrated helmets like this.
The helmets are foldable, and are stowed inside a lockable compartment attached below the scooter’s handlebars when not in use. The compartment is unlocked using the Tier app. Tier says the helmets comply with European safety standards, and that the company will check the helmets after every five rides. This check will include disinfecting the helmets as part of the company’s COVID-19 safety precautions.
Getting scooter riders to wear helmets has been a big problem for the scooter rental industry. While it’s always been possible for riders to provide their own helmets, the data suggests that few people bother. One study from last year found that only one in every 190 injured riders was wearing a helmet. The issue is only going to get worse as scooter use increases, with TechCrunch pointing towards research that suggests scooter injuries have tripled over the past four years.
One scooter company, Bird, has tried incentivising people to wear helmets by handing out free rides, but an increasing number of micromobility companies are building helmets directly into the vehicles themselves. Electric bike rental company Wheels, for example, includes a helmet that’s built into the rear of their bikes. It’s also common for moped rental companies to include helmets in a lockable cargo compartment, since many cities around the world legally require these riders to wear helmets.
Along with the new helmet compartment, Tier says it is also experimenting with new handlebar technology that’s more resistant to bacteria in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These anti-bacterial, self-disinfecting handlebars have a copper fleece material that reportedly kills 99.8 percent of bacteria. Tier is currently trialling the new handlebar tech in Paris and Bordeaux.