compact portable electrically-powered electric vehicle for transporting an individual
Travel topics > Transportation > Cycling > Personal electric vehicles

Personal electric vehicles can be a good way to get around in cities while you're traveling.

Electric bicycles are useful for commuting, but others, like personal transporters, are more of novelty use or better suited for shorter distances. If you've ever wanted to try one out, grab your helmet and join a tour.

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Understand edit

Tour group on personal transporters

An electric bicycle operates as a regular bicycle, with an electric engine providing extra power, especially nice for uphill distances. Often the engine stops when you stop pedalling or you reach 25 km/h speed (both legal requirements in some countries).

Rentable electric scooters or e-scooters are usually geofenced with speed limits depending on time and place.

A mobility scooter is used for elderly people, and people with disabilities. They might be available at resorts.

A golf cart can be useful at golf courses and resorts. While a heavy golf cart is essentially a car, a light, electric-powered model might not require a driver's license.

Personal transporters include more specialized vehicles of brands such as Segway or Hoverboard. They can be used for guided tours.

As providing more than one model complicates logistics, there is usually just one size available of any of the transporters, suitable for most "average" people (by some definition). Children and unusually big or small adults may have some problems using them, and there are often age and weight restrictions.

Rent edit

Electrically-powered bicycles in Nanjing

You can mostly bring your own vehicle if you arrive by car or boat, but they are too bulky for most trains and buses.

Electric bicycles can be rented at some places that rent bikes, through some bike sharing systems and from specialised businesses similar to the e-scooter ones.

Electric scooters can be rented from several multinational companies, usually to be used in centres of big cities. You usually need their app and may need to enable Bluetooth and GPS on your smartphone (bad luck if you don't have one). Billing is usually from a debit or credit card, which needs to be registered with the application.

Personal transporters are mostly available as part of some tours.

Many of the vehicles can be left more or less anywhere, to be picked up by the next user. Don't leave them where somebody with weak vision would stumble over them, or where they might cause congestion. The service providers usually have some guidelines.

Stay safe edit

See also: Cycling, Urban cycling

Learn to drive the vehicle in a calm street before using it in traffic. As these vehicles became common only in the 2010s, most drivers, cyclists and pedestrians might not be used how to interact with them. Be cautious in heavy traffic and if you have to use them among pedestrians. Be especially careful when you meet people with small children or a dog, elderly people and people with a disability.

Electric bicycles allow anyone to reach speeds that few would use with a regular bicycle in city settings, and they have longer braking distance. Adapt speed so you have time to stop. At low speeds the sudden effect of the engine can be surprising, be careful.

In most cases, the personal electric vehicles follow the same regulation as bicycles (so e.g. driving on the pavement may be illegal), but there are exceptions. Laws are subject to change, and differ between countries. It is also common that users of these vehicles ignore local laws. Don't be surprised if you are fined for driving like everybody else. Do not use while drunk. In many places riding a bicycle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is illegal, and this includes electric bicycles. A personal electric vehicle is more dangerous to both the drunk user and to any bystanders than a similar unpowered vehicle would be.

Use a helmet, which will protect your skull in case of an accident. Helmets may be required by law or by the rental contract, and in some countries (most notably Argentina, Australia and New Zealand), their use is strictly enforced.

A vehicle might have room for a passenger; riding more than one person on the same vehicle can however be illegal and is dangerous.

See also edit

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