Micromobility firm Tier is currently testing e-scooters that are accessible to wheelchair users. The trial is being run in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, just outside Paris, with hopes it can be expanded to markets outside France in the near future.
The pilot has come about thanks to a universal fixing devised by French start-up Omni which allows for 95 per cent of wheelchairs currently on the market to be connected to an e-scooter.
As reported by Design Boom, Omni’s system has been around in some form or other since 2020, at which point it was known as “Le Globetrotter”. The firm has also been working with another micromobility company, Dott, since the summer.
Tier says that one in ten of its users identify as having a disability and that Omni’s mechanism effectively offers power assistance at much lower cost than conventional wheelchair power attachments which are typically several thousand pounds.
Based on footage of the Globetrotter version, it looks like the wheelchair user rolls over the deck of an e-scooter so that a low bar attached to the chair clicks into a fixing. This automatically lifts the e-scooter’s stand and – if the e-scooter’s handlebars are set up at an appropriate height – the user can then set off.
Tier’s general manager for UK and Ireland, Georgia Yexley, commented: “Considering accessibility for any mobility service is critical – and micromobility is no exception.
“Whilst accessibility must be considered at all stages, it is just as important to create a service which can be iteratively improved and become more accessible over time. Our work with Omni shows how we as an industry can react to ongoing challenges and make micromobility usable by all.”