The second thing you need to know about scooters is that there’s a decent chance you’re going to be riding one soon. It might be a fancy electric seated thing from some hip startup, but just as likely it’ll be an old-school, kick-push-and-coast, Razor-style ride. Why? Because we need a way to move around that isn’t inside a car.
The UN predicts the global population will hit 9.6 billion by 2050. All of that growth will come in cities—two thirds of those people will live in urban areas. We’re breeding like rabbits, and packing people into ever-smaller, ever-taller, ever-more-crowded metropolitan areas, because it’s not like there’s more land in Manhattan or San Francisco or Beijing we’re just not using.
This isn’t one of those “think of your grandchildren!” problems. Our cities are already clogged with traffic, and filled with hideous parking garages that facilitate our planet-killing habits. Even the automakers recognize that the traditional car business—sell a car to every person with the money to buy one—is on its way out. “If you think we’re gonna shove two cars in every car in garage in Mumbai, you’re crazy,” says Bill Ford, Jr.—the chairman and former CEO of the company his great-grandfather Henry founded to put two cars in every garage.