ASTM F2641-23: Recreational Powered Scooters & Pocket Bikes

Electric scooter fast ride through the city, adhering to ASTM F2641-23.

The film Roman Holiday, released in 1953, is one of the most famous examples of a Vespa scooter, which was used as a glamorous form of transport for a princess in Rome. Reports from the time suggest that right after the release of Roman Holiday, Vespa sold over 100,000 units as a direct result. The evolution of scooters eventually resulted in a vehicle that was used as more of a toy than a transport device. ASTM F2641-23: Standard Consumer Safety Specification For Recreational Powered Scooters And Pocket Bikes addresses the safety of recreational powered scooters and pocket bikes.

Who Invented the Scooter?

Scooters were first invented in Germany in 1817 when Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun created the concept of a two-wheeled ride. A few decades later, the transportation was motorized. At the turn of the 19th century, battery-powered machines were also entering into the fold; Ogden Bolton Jr. was issued a U.S. patent for his battery-powered bicycle in 1895. In 1915, Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson and Joseph F. Merkel created the first motorized ccooter, the Autoped. The scooter promised to revolutionize short trips, work commutes, and the lives of anyone who wants to save money, time, and energy in going about. This motorized scooter promoted a level of freedom and mobility that allured people of all ages, as it still does today.

What Is ASTM F2641?

ASTM F2641-23 establishes performance requirements, test methods, and marking requirements to promote safe use of recreational powered scooters and pocket bikes:

  • Recreational powered scooter: a battery-powered motorized recreational vehicle that has two or more wheels, a low platform, a vertical element for the user to grasp, and a method of steering.
  • Pocket bike: a motorized two-wheel vehicle designed for a single occupant in the seated position typically designed to look like a motorcycle but scaled down to one quarter to one half the size of a typical motorcycle and not intended for use on public roads.

This consumer safety standard is intended to minimize the risk of injury and misuse of these e-mobility products.

The global electric scooters market size was estimated at USD 37.07 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9% from 2023 to 2030. Electric scooters have become popular for personal transportation due to being more affordable, easier to operate, and more convenient to park and store than a car. Additionally, there is an increasing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, coupled with growing concerns over greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.

Electric vehicles have existed for over a century and were the first source of power that inventors thought of for a self-propelled vehicle. By the beginning of the 20th century, several manufacturers were marketing electric vehicles. In 1897, the best-selling car in the United States was an electric car called Columbia, and at this time, electric cars were outselling both steam and gasoline powered cars. Physicians and affluent women in many cities bought electric cars because they were clean, quiet, comfortable, and easy to operate. Although electric cars were clean and silent, their batteries were heavy, and the distance between charges was limited. For instance, one charge of the battery gave the Columbia a range of 40 miles.

In 1901, gasoline-powered vehicles began to take a narrow lead in sales as the longer range was appealing to the everyday consumer. Additionally, maintaining batteries was a complicated, hazardous task often left to a commercial garage, and the absence of electric power in rural areas limited the market for electric cars.

ASTM F2641-23: Standard Consumer Safety Specification For Recreational Powered Scooters And Pocket Bikes is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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