By Ben Garcia
There has been a noticeable rise in electric scooters on the streets of Kuwait lately. E-scooters are not only used for leisure, but are a great help to some, especially when public transport was suspended as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Kuwait Times found more than a 100 e-scooter riders only in Salmiya, mostly Filipinos.
One rider told Kuwait Times he uses his e-scooter to go to work and for his side hustle. “I go to work daily on my e-scooter and also use it sell food to my Pinoy neighbors. I love it,” said Shajeed Lucman, who bought the scooter online. “I saw it on YouTube, and I was encouraged to buy it. At that time, e-scooters were not available in Kuwait, so I bought it online from Dubai. I shared my experience with my fellow kabayans, so now we have hundreds of Filipinos using e-scooters nowadays,” Lucman said.
“During the lockdown, I used it to deliver homemade snacks to my Pinoy neighbors. Earlier I used my bicycle to deliver supplies to my customers, but now I use the e-scooter because it is more comfortable,” he added. The only thing riders have to think about is recharging the battery – it has to be fully charged to enjoy the ride.
E-scooter hobbyist Aivan Lawrence, President of the Filipino E-Scooters in Kuwait group, said the use of e-scooters has evolved from leisure rides to job-related purposes. During the lockdown, the demand for e-scooters went up, and many of his friends and acquaintances bought them.
“They are very convenient to use. I was encouraged by my friend Lucman to buy an e-scooter from Dubai, because at that time there were no e-scooters in Kuwait,” Lawrence told Kuwait Times. “But now they are available at several electronics outlets in Kuwait. The price of an e-scooter in Dubai is KD 230, but now it’s available from KD 170. I bought mine in Kuwait. We are using it to go to work, and I use it for my part-time business too,” he added.
Mark “Kry Em”, another e-scooter rider, purchased his e-scooter during the lockdown. “I work at a paper company in Shuwaikh. During the lockdown, the e-scooter helped me a lot. To earn money, I sold custom-made caps and special printed t-shirts and uniforms. I purchased the e-scooter for leisure and to deliver stuff to my customers. We didn’t have any work, so we needed to do something to survive,” he said.
The major problem in riding an e-scooter is safety, as there are no special lanes for bikes and no regulations yet on using e-scooters. “That is why we organized a club to share our experiences and expectations, especially on the safety of riders. We are aware of the dangers of riding e-scooters, so we are taking precautionary measures. We share safety tips for riders so we can be safe at all times. We also advise our members not to use major roads – the e-scooter is designed to be used in safe areas only,” Mark said.
“We advise our members to always wear helmets for protection in case of accidents or falls. When you purchase an e-scooter, you should buy a helmet too. One must take extra care and be alert when on the street using the scooter,” he added.
Asked if any accidents have been recorded involving e-scooters, Lawrence admitted there have been some minor incidents. “Our objective in creating the group is to provide support to users and warn them of the dangers. If we have groups like this, we can discuss precautionary measures that we can all benefit from,” he concluded.