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    Okai News - October 2020

    The next few weeks are going to be busy. We are looking forward to trying out the new ALL DIGITAL format of Autonomy.Paris and Ebike-Future-Con.
    Both events should be very interesting and both are free to register.

    On October 30th at 3pm, Danielle Cheng is going to talk about what we have learned from almost 900 million shared rides at Ebike-Future-Con. And on November 5th, you can tune in for our Autonomy.Paris talk, “Can Scooters & Ebikes create a sustainable sharing businesses via a unified Charging System?” held by Managing Director Laurens Laudowicz.

    Here’s What Else:

    1. Check out our new EB100 Electric Sharing Bike live in action here! Thanks to Beam Mobility for the great video.
    2. The ES400B now is available to all our existing and new sharing partners.
    3. Due to delays in the registration of our ES500, we are still offering a Pre-Order discount here.

    Latest Reports: 

    1. Is the “Vroom Boom,” or the supposed explosion in car buying caused by the pandemic, even real? While US car sales were slightly elevated this summer, that came after a gigantic downturn in spring.
    2. Lime is reimagining itself as a MaaS platform for micromobility. This winter, the Lime app will start allowing users in select cities to find and rent vehicles from other operators, beginning with pedal-free e-bikes from Wheels. (The commission on those third-party rentals must be pretty good, because Lime’s CEO says he expects the company reach profitability in 2021.)
    3. The first e-scooter trials in Japan are beginning this month. Following the UK’s legalization earlier this year, Japan is the last G7 country without dockless scooters.
    4. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is escalating her war on cars in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics, telling would-be visitors to “forget about crossing” the city by car.
    5. Big tech is making bets on micromobility. Amazon is building an all-star e-bike delivery team in New York, and according to one exec, Uber still views micromobility as “really important” to its future, despite off-loading its bike and scooter unit this spring. 
    6. Since the pandemic began, Europe has invested a total of $1 billion in new cycling infrastructure, as sales of bikes, and particularly e-bikes, have skyrocketed. The number of German households that own an e-bike has tripled since 2015, reaching 4.3 million homes, or 11% of the population. And in the Netherlands, the e-bike is now the most commonly sold type of bicycle
    7. Bird and other bike and scooter operators are offering US voters free rides to the polls on Election Day.

    What Were Reading: 

    🚌 Train/Bus 2020

    Speaking of the US election next month, the presidential face-off between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is getting most of the attention, but in a new piece in CityLab, Laura Bliss writes that voters in more than 15 cities will also decide on at least $1.4 billion worth of transportation ballot measures, more than half of which would fund various types of public transit. While transportation ballot measures have been on a winning streak lately in America, COVID-19 could change all that. With far fewer people riding transit these days, voters may feel less inclined to back initiatives that fund or expand bus, tram, and train projects. The result could be massive service cuts in the low-income communities that rely on public transportation most.

    🇳🇴 Norwegian would if we could

    What is the best way for municipalities to achieve Vision Zero? The city of Oslo offers an object lesson. Back in 2015, Oslo was beset by rising transportation injuries. In response, local leaders made a strong commitment to improving street safety. Lo and behold, in 2019, no vulnerable road users and only a single driver were killed in the Norwegian capital all year. All but eliminating road deaths in four short years seems like a miracle, but Oslo actually pursued a very straightforward and easy-to-follow strategy: ban cars from the city center, streamline the approval process for new cycle and bus lanes, and create more programs to encourage people to bike. Voila. 

    🚲 Changing the face of biking
    Cities are experiencing an unprecedented growth in bike trips amid the coronavirus pandemic, and in many localities, women are leading the way. While there were 68% more trips by male cyclists in New York City this July than last year, the number of trips by female cyclists shot up an incredible 147%, according to data from Strava. Experts attribute this increase to the absence of traffic, which has inspired many who traditionally avoided biking for safety reasons to give it a try. But as lockdown eases and cars return, cycling advocates are concerned that the gender gap that has plagued biking for so long will start to reemerge.

    📏 Distancing is important
    We’ve all heard of 15-minute cities. But what about six-foot cities? In a recent op-ed published in the Guardian, pioneering transportation planner Janette Sadik-Khan makes the case that urbanism need to be reimagined for the era of social distancing. The most effective way to protect the public health while reopening the economy, she argues, is to make sure people have enough space to stay physically separated during daily activities. And in many cities the largest source of underused public space is streets. Sadik-Khan writes, “On most city streets, maintaining six feet of distance is a physical impossibility not because there isn’t enough space, but because the street space is poorly allocated. About 80% of public space in cities are its streets, an area equivalent to entire cities unto themselves.”
    👺 And masks are a must
    Are transit agencies going to end up regretting their stringent anti-crowding measures? Without a national mask mandate—which has been shown to alleviate the risk of spreading the coronavirus on public transportation in places like France, Spain, and Japan—US transit leaders are requiring bus and train riders to stay six feet apart. But, as David Zipper writes in a new article, the strategy of social distancing could backfire, making it hard for transit to eventually return to full capacity. “After all,” he notes, “mass transportation relies on moving large numbers of people in relatively small vehicles. Crowding, to some degree, is necessary; transit’s operational and financial models collapse if passengers keep demanding lots of space around them while they ride.”

    Words of the Month

    German: Schnapsidee
    Literally meaning a “liquor idea,” or a crazy thought.

    Chinese: màn zǒu 慢走 
    Literally meaning “to walk slowly;” in conversation it means “please take it easy” or “have a pleasant journey.”