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Asia Minute: Electric Scooter Growth in Asia Brings Confusion

Anthony Quintano
CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Electric scooters made a brief but memorable appearance in Honolulu about a year and a half ago — lasting for all of one week. The vehicles remain a point of controversy in many cities around the world, and over the last couple of weeks have been making news in the Asia Pacific.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt wants to bring electric scooters to Tokyo. On Friday, he said he’s targeting students on university campuses.

Right now, under Japanese law, riders can only use scooters on streets. Plus, they need a motorcycle license and a helmet — not exactly the style of transport electric scooter companies have in mind.

The Jakarta Post reports that city is considering banning the use of scooters on sidewalks. Early last week, two scooter riders were killed when they were hit by a car.

It’s been two weeks since Singapore overhauled its laws on electric scooters, making them illegal on the footpaths that wind through many parks in the city.

This being Singapore, penalties are relatively severe. Channel News Asia reports there are not only fines involved, but repeat offenders can be jailed for up to six months.

The Korea Herald reports at least three international e-scooter companies are operating in Seoul. While Taiwan has proved an even more popular location for the vehicles.

The Taiwan News reports sales of electric scooters could surpass 150,000 by the end of this year.

Scooter use has also grown quickly in Australia. Although, the Sydney Morning Herald reports the rules of the road, or the paths, vary in every major city.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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