King of the road: Sebastian Scholz zips past traffic on his electric scooter. - Photo: Stephen Clarke

Sebastian Scholz zips past the slow-crawling traffic on his two-wheeled electric scooter, feeling the breeze on his face as he turns into Cricket Square.

When he reaches his office he folds the scooter up, puts it under his desk and he’s good to go. No parking headaches, no gas costs, no traffic. It takes 12 minutes from his home in Snug Harbour to get to work.

The scooter – an electric commuter version of the type you might have played on as a kid – can hit top speeds of 20 miles per hour. At 7:30am in Grand Cayman that is easily the fastest vehicle on the road.

“Occasionally cars pass me, but then they soon get stuck in traffic and I overtake them again,” Scholz said.

He has been commuting this way for over a year. Around two-thirds of his trips are on the e-scooter.

“Traffic is a big motivator but it is also kind of fun and there is an aspect of trying to be more green.”

The financial services executive is one of a growing number of residents switching to manoeuvrable electric vehicles that can bypass the traffic – and these are not just scooters.

Early adopters: James Ball, Marc Halley and Julian Coetzer are passionate advocates for electric rides like scooters and one-wheels. – Photo: James Whittaker

For two years, James Ball rode to work on an electric skateboard. Now he’s switched up to a one-wheel – still essentially a skateboard but with a single central wheel.

It can travel on the roads at about 12 mph – enough for his short journey from Snug Harbour to his office at Uniregistry at Governors Square.

“I have taken it up to Camana Bay and to Macabuca. I take it to Fosters to go shopping. I hardly ever use the car,” he said.

For short trips, anything up to about four or five miles, he believes electric rides are the way forward.

“It could be a pretty good solution for a large part of the population. It would be great if they caught on a bit more,” he said.

Julian Coetzer is another convert.

He clocked 1,300 miles on his one-wheel in the space of four months.

“These things really are incredible,” he said.

“If the island had a functional Uber-like taxi system I would sell my car tomorrow as I would never use it.”

Using the one-wheel is faster and more convenient than waiting in traffic, he said.
“During rush hour and lunch time I am convinced I will get anywhere in half the time a car would except for very long distances.”

Marc Halley, another early adopter who uses a one-wheel for most of his journeys, said a group of friends had all imported electric rides around the same time and had never looked back.

“I pretty much ride on bike lanes or sidewalks,” he said.

“Despite some bumps and bruises over the last few years, they are very safe and don’t interfere with pedestrians too much.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Is it legal to ride these on the sidewalks and public footpaths in the Cayman Islands because it for sure is illegal in the UK. In fact it’s still illegal to use them anywhere except on private property. One issue is third-party liability, the other is safety equipment. I understand the logic but this is a legal can of worms if it’s not addressed soon. 20mph in a t-shirt with no protection is going to hurt if you fall off. A 20mph impact with a pedestrian, cyclist or a car is not only going to hurt but, if you have no insurance, is going to get expensive. Legalise them by all means by make sure you do it properly.

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