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Micromobility Vandalism on the Rise in Vantaa: A Growing Concern
Micromobility Vandalism on the Rise in Vantaa: A Growing Concern

As micromobility vehicles increasingly integrate into urban landscapes, they have become a common mode of transportation for individuals commuting to work or school, given their convenience and efficiency when properly maintained. Still, there’s a darker side to this mobility trend. In this blog post, we’re going to dive into a growing problem: the increasing vandalism of these vehicles that have become so important for urban transportation. We’ll take a closer look at the different ways these vehicles get damaged, and try to understand why some people feel the need to vandalise them.

The predominant form of vandalism involves intentionally causing the back tire to burn out, resulting in excessive smoke and an extremely uncomfortable ride for users due to the subsequent shaking and bouncing caused by the uneven tire. This heightened instability further increases repair expenses, as highlighted in my colleague’s text, “Extending the Lifespan of Your Electric Scooter: Essential Maintenance Practices” by Samuel Jones. Typically, this act of vandalism is perpetrated by young teenagers who engage in tire burnouts against walls, perhaps motivated by the perception of it being a visually striking activity. Understanding the motivations of today’s youth can sometimes be quite a mystery.

Another form of vandalism is breaking the handlebars of the vehicle by either jumping on the vehicles with brute force or snapping the handlebars in half as shown in the photo below.

Most of these vandalised scooters have been discovered in school playgrounds, local skateparks, and even by passersby who have reported incidents of local teens damaging scooters during their daily commutes. This type of vandalism poses a considerable financial burden for the company and is incredibly time-consuming, as most of the vehicles need to be disassembled for repair, typically taking up to one hour to fix each broken handlebar. During this operational season, we encountered approximately 20-30 instances of broken handlebars, resulting in significant delays and days off from being operational.

Scooters ending up in lakes, ponds, and even the ocean are a weekly occurrence. Retrieving these vehicles typically involves using magnets or venturing into the water to recover them. This type of vandalism is somewhat challenging to trace back to its perpetrators, as any passerby can simply kick or push the scooter into the water. Thankfully the vehicles are mostly water proof causing no further damage if not fully submerged for long periods of time.

Another, thankfully less common, form of vandalism involves abandoning scooters in landfills and scrapyards. It’s puzzling how these scooters occasionally find themselves in these locations, possibly driven by the motives of individuals who hold a significant hatred for these scooters. Additionally, some people tend to conceal scooters in their personal storage spaces from time to time. Online posts reveal instances of individuals disassembling the scooter batteries into smaller components. Perhaps their motive is to sell these scrap parts for money or repurpose the metal pieces and batteries for personal use.

The final common form of vandalism involves spray painting and applying stickers to the vehicles. Fortunately, this is the least damaging type of vandalism, as we can promptly clean and remove any stickers or graffiti from the scooters. Individuals often leave political or event-related stickers on the scooters or opt to spray paint the vehicles in their entirety.

In summary, the integration of micromobility vehicles into urban areas has brought convenience but also vandalism challenges. From tire burnouts to vehicle submersion, these issues burden both companies and communities. While some acts are more easily remedied, understanding the motivations behind such destruction is essential. We can only hope that, with increased awareness and collaborative efforts, there will be an end to this vandalism, ensuring a safer and more sustainable urban mobility environment for all.

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