As electric scooter usage and safety become hot topics in metropolitan areas all over the United States, it’s important that operators have safety incentive ideas to offer to riders. These safety incentive ideas can help encourage responsible behavior while also raising awareness of electric scooter safety in the general population. With 2021 on track to be a record-breaking year for micromobility, including electric scooters, safety once again comes to the forefront of relevance for operators.
Incentive Theory and Micromobility
A 2019 Medium.com piece discusses the idea that people are naturally wired to respond to positive reinforcement and external safety incentives. This includes prompting safer behaviors like helmet wearing. In fact, the author recounts his own early childhood experience with a free ice cream incentive program offered in the 1990s through a partnership between law enforcement agencies and McDonald’s. Using free vanilla ice cream cones as the incentive, this partnership was successfully able to encourage the author and countless other children to embrace consistent helmet wearing.
While vanilla ice cream may not be the best thing to incentivize today’s electric scooter rider, the premise is solid. Incentive Theory, the psychological term for this phenomenon, is well-documented and proven. Incentive Theory backs the notion that humans are persuaded to behaviors through external rewards. Using this idea to create persuasive incentives that encourage safety, micromobility operators can create the ideal behavioral change for improved safety practices across the board.
3 Safety Incentive Ideas That Operators Can Offer Riders
1. Encourage and reward photographic validation.
Almost all riders have some sort of mobile device or mobile phone with them as they scoot from point A to point B. With minimal investment or ramp-up time, operators can roll out messaging and marketing around an incentive that gets riders to share photos validating helmet wearing, proper parking and other aspects of electric scooter safety. In fact, some operators are already doing this exact thing through “Helmet Selfie” promotions. Operators reward a simple action of documenting rider safety habits with anything from discounts or credits towards future rides or discounts at partnered local businesses in their area. Operators can create a clear incentive structure that prompts safe actions, while also growing brand awareness for their electric scooters. When better safety practices meet built-in marketing, that’s a win-win for operators and riders alike.
2. Embrace social media as a safety tool.
Social media can be a creative and effective tool for spreading the word about campaigns designed to incentivize safe rider habits. For example, operators’ apps could potentially be set up to allow certain data readouts for a recent ride in a shareable format. The operator can then use social media channels to prompt followers (many of whom may presumably also be riders) to use social media hashtags or mentions to spread the word about their own safety data. Operators can then use this pattern to offer giveaways, promotions and other incentives to help encourage safe behaviors through tangible external rewards.This action encourages safety, as well as sharing of the operator’s message and brand — again, spreading awareness of proper safety while setting the stage for ridership growth.
3. Empower riders through education.
Operators can establish better safety through external incentive systems by offering validated and rewarded safety training. Through safety training campaigns, operators can create their own safety training content and reward riders for using it. Making it free and easily accessible for riders makes it easier to offer incentives. These external rewards could include discounts on future rides. And by making this accessible training content free and shareable, riders can use the other aforementioned mechanisms to share their safe choices with friends and family.
No matter what challenges arise, one leading concern for operators, riders and local municipalities will always be safety. As a core focus for all parties interested in the micromobility movement expected to grow in the coming years, incentivizing and rewarding good safety practice is a proven way to create improved safety statistics in the coming years.
To learn more about electric scooter safety and incentives you can employ to improve your riders’ health and safety, zip on by our Resources section to learn more.