Micromobility Defined

I’m really enjoying the Micromobility Podcast but certainly finding bits to disagree with.

Currently listening to episode 25, “The Case for Micromobility – A Recap Summary” and early on Dediu suggests that the definition of micromobility should not include bikes but only e-bikes. Huh? This seems silly. If we’re thinking about micromobility as defining a group of vehicles that are under a 500kg in weight1 and which are used to transport people why would bicycles not be included? The reason he gives in the podcast is that he’s defining micromobility as a new thing and bicycles are not new. But that seems problematic and unnecessarily arbitrary.

If the micromobility category of vehicles is to grow in importance in the transport of humans in the near and long-term future, that means that much else also changes. Most obviously, to get there it means actively changing public policy and infrastructure to better provide for the category. There’s no meaningful reason to exclude bicycles as they will certainly be an indiscernible part of the flow of this traffic category. At the moment the Wikipedia page for Micromobility currently lists bicycles. It may just be something Dediu said off the cuff and without thinking. But it is an important detail I think.

But looking at the first paragraphs of the Wikipedia page indicates a contradiction, emphasis mine:

Micromobility is a category of modes of transport that are provided by very light vehicles such as electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles and electric pedal assisted, pedelec, bicycles.

The primary condition for inclusion in the category is a gross vehicle weight of less than 500 kg. Additional conditions are the provision of a motor, primary utility use, and availability as a shared service.

  1. His definition regarding weight is loosely based on that being a cut-off below which even the smallest car cannot go. ↩︎