News from OkaiWhile Covid-19 has halted many businesses around the world, we atOkai have been super busy recently. After a period of “quiet before the storm,” we are now in full-swing production. Some updates:
a. Okai now offers a global data plan for its shared scooters
b. Fleet operators are now able to order 2 different models of street legal scooters (including German ABE)
c. We are happy to welcome two new team members to our Berlin office to support us on Design and eCommerce projects
- The list of cities that have set up safe streets networks in response to the Covid-19 crisis continues to grow. Seattle, Milan, Portland, Paris, and Montreal are among the most recent metros to restrict car access to allow cyclists, pedestrians, and scooter riders more room for social distancing. To keep track of all these local initiatives, transport enthusiasts are crowdsourcing a Google Doc.
- Europeans say they want to keep their cities car-free after the lockdowns end, according to a new poll. The soaring demand for bicycles, mopeds, and scooters suggests they’re serious.
- Two separate contact tracing studies, one from France and one from Japan, linked a grand total of zero clusters of coronavirus cases to mass transit. Is it possible that trains and buses might not act as super spreaders as long as riders take the right precautions? Perhaps, but try telling that to anxious commuters. A recent surveyfinds that 70% of Londoners are nervous about taking public transportation.
- VC activity in the micromobility sector is down 26% year over year, but that hasn’t stopped some operators, including Lime, Didi Qingju, Tier, Tembeci, Superpedestrian, Beam, and Yulu, from raising capital to plan for the post-pandemic future.
- Nearly 30 cities, along with 17 companies, have expressed interest in participating in the UK’s upcoming scooter trial.
- As travel restrictions lift, cities are bracing for a possible carpocalypse.
What We’re Reading🥊Final showdown: cars vs. micromobility
For transit riders reevaluating their traditional commutes in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, there are basically two socially distanced ways to get around: cars and micromobility. That means cities have a choice. If politicians want to prevent traffic, air pollution, and road deaths from returning to pre-pandemic levels, they need to take action right away to make biking, walking, and scootering as safe and accessible as possible. As Harvard Kennedy School visiting scholar David Zipper writes in Slate, “A moment like this—when millions of urban trips are temporarily up for grabs across transportation modes—is exceedingly rare. The stakes for cities could scarcely be higher.”
🏙️America’s cities were designed to oppress
From over-policing to “defensible” spaces, America’s cities were designed to oppress black and brown communities. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, urban planners are beginning to confront their role in perpetuating this legacy of systemic racism. It is an important first step toward unraveling the structural inequity that is so tightly woven into society
💔The work continues
Outside Magazine’s #2020cyclingdeaths project is tracking every single person on a bike who is killed by a driver in the US in 2020. The extraordinary initiative aims to humanize the victims of car violence by also publishing personal essays, like “To the Driver Who Hit Me and Ran.” Overall it is a sobering reminder that, even as automobile deaths are in decline, cycling fatalities are the highest they have been in a generation.
What will the post-pandemic workplace look like? For some workers, especially in the tech industry, the office will continue to be at home. With nearly two-thirds of the workforce temporarily telecommuting, companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify are starting to realize that many jobs can be done without in-person meetings or travel. That shift could have interesting implications for the future of rush hour.
🚲Biking sets us free
During the global uprisings against police brutality, bikes have been wielded as vehicles of protest and tools of oppression. But the experience of cycling will forever be emancipatory. From the New Yorker: “The mystery of cycling pleasure, the mind- and body-altering sense of freedom and possibility that a bicycle imparts, has moved physicists to seek new equations and prompted poets to reach for their most purple phrases. But it may ultimately be unquantifiable and ineffable. It lies in the uncanny fusion of the human frame and the bicycle frame, which can make a bicycle feel like an extension of your body, a prosthesis rather than a vehicle. It lies in the dreamy circular revolutions of the pedals and crank and chain, and in the spinning wheels that slip a continuous band of compressed air between the bike and the road, literally holding a rider airborne. If cyclists imagine themselves to be flying, it is because, in a sense, they are.”
Words of the Month
“A deep sadness about the inadequacy or imperfection of the world.”
Chinese: 起早贪黑 (qǐ zǎo tān hēi)
“Rise early and desire the dark,” or in other words, wake up early and sleep late.