Fayetteville will be the site of a pilot program to help test a new seated electric scooter.
Scooter provider Veo will offer free test rides to Fayetteville residents ages 16 and older from 12-3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 and from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the intersection of the Razorback Greenway and Dickson Street.
The new seated scooter is similar to Veo’s stand-up electric scooters which have operated in town and on the University of Arkansas campus for the last two years, but the new model allows riders to sit on a cushioned seat much like a gas-powered scooter or moped.
The idea is to make scooter riding more accessible by providing a comfortable ride for those who prefer the added stability of a seat and lower center of gravity, or for those who simple are not able to stand and ride for long periods of time.
The demo event will allow residents to ride the new scooter and provide feedback to Veo as well as to city officials and university staff.
“Safety is the most important factor when considering introducing a new mobility option like this,” said Dane Eifling, the city’s mobility coordinator. “The sit-down e-scooter seems much more stable for the rider, and it does not go any faster than the standing models. We would be open to trying out a scooter model that could offer additional safety benefits.”
The seated scooters feature a 500-watt motor with front-fork suspension, and include 18-inch wheels, front and back LED lights and glow-in-the-dark paint for increased visibility at night. The scooters have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and a range of up to 55 miles per charge, according to Veo.
This year alone, Veo reported more than 200,000 rides on its scooters in Fayetteville.
“E-scooter ridership has been remarkably high, which illustrates demand for car alternatives,” said Eric Boles, director of the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability. “We’re interested in expanding transportation options for our community and will prioritize solutions that foster safety, increase efficiency and minimize negative externalities.”
Helmets for test drives, ride credits, and refreshments will be available for attendees on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Veo. COVID-19 precautions will also be taken, and all scooters will be thoroughly wiped down with commercial-grade disinfectants between rides, officials said.