Electric scooters used as toys

Research carried out by the Centre of Excellence on Road Safety of the Italian National Police reveals a dramatic scenario regarding knowledge of rules and the perception of accident risk by users of electric scooters

The Italian National Police's Centre of Excellence on Road Safety, the operational unit set up under a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Psychology, the Italian National Police, the Ania Foundation and ASL RM1, has researched scooter use. The study, coordinated by Anna Maria Giannini, director of the Department of Psychology, revealed an altered perception of risks in the sense of strong underestimation. Students are inclined to think of scootering as a game, disregard road rules as binding and the possible consequences of improper use. These distortions create a real paradox: the belief that riding a scooter makes one invulnerable and allows one to have fun without worrying. The adolescent groups actively involved in the research showed that they are attracted by play and consider themselves invincible. At the same time, the use of the vehicle recalls the theme of playfulness (typical of earlier ages) and the scooter is unfortunately not considered an actual device that must comply with specific rules of use.

The study involved six thousand students from secondary schools throughout Italy, aged 14 to 16; almost one in ten declared that they frequently ride an electric scooter, particularly in areas of greater urban intensity. The sample showed that they had little or no knowledge of current regulations on scooter use (age limits, speed limits, etc.). For example, only 26% know what speed is allowed in pedestrian areas, and 42% believe that the minimum age for riding a scooter is 10 years (the real limit is 14 years). Above all, young people perceive the risk of having an accident to be lower than driving another means of transport such as a car or moped.

According to the research, as regards the attitudes evoked by the vehicle, the aspect of greatest attraction is fun: the young people interviewed consider the scooter to be fun and enjoyable, even more so than dangerous and useful. The risk is that the "playful" experience associated with this means of transport may further disengage the driver from compliance with the rules.

© Sapienza Università di Roma - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma - (+39) 06 49911 - CF 80209930587 PI 02133771002