Since 2017, at least least eight people have died in accidents related to rented e-scooters according to a recent Consumer Reports study. The study shows that of more than 3,000 surveyed, few know the traffic laws governing use of these vehicles in America. CR’s study also shows at least 1,500 injuries in over 47 cities with a total of eight fatalities.
Deaths and Dangers
This March a 53-year-old from San Diego lost control and crashed into a tree. In April, a Tulsa, 5-year-old died when he fell off a scooter while riding with his mother and was struck by oncoming traffic. There were at least two more deaths reported in May.
The majority of deaths occur because riders are not wearing helmets, as was the case in the San Diego death. Others are caused because riders are using the e-scooters improperly, as was the case in Tulsa. According to reps from the two companies that make them, Bird and Lime, e-scooters should be used by only one rider at a time and never by those under age 18.
What E-Scooter Makers Are Doing To Keep You Safe
For its part, Lime is “committed” to making environments safer for riders. “Safety is critically important at Lime, and every day we’re innovating on technology, infrastructure, and education to set the standard for micromobility safety.
Bird advocated for modern infrastructure in a separate statement to CR.
Some cities, like Nashville, are looking to banning e-scooters altogether.
Nashville Mayor David Briley’s letter to scooter companies, reads in part: “Based upon what I have witnessed firsthand, the recent influx of scooters in our city is causing us to be less safe and more visually cluttered.”
CR’s March 2019 survey found the following about e-scooters and public knowledge:
- 22% spent time in an area they saw e-scooters and had used one.
- 27% are unsure of the traffic laws they should follow for e-scooters.
- 51% ride e-scooters on the sidewalk.
- 26% ride in a bike lane.
- 18% ride in the street, but not in a bike lane.
- More than 1/4 of users say pedestrians got in the way.
- 2- in – 10 say they felt unsafe around car traffic.
- 8% reported their scooter malfunctioned or didn’t work properly.
The most shocking piece of information emerging from the study is half of e-scooter riders saying they wear a helmet at least some of the time. This could be linked to rides becoming less spontaneous and more of a planned activity. Although, riders should wear a helmet all of the time.
Says the report, “When they first appeared, riders may have seen them, thinking they’ll give them a try, without having pre-planned to ride one. Now that people know scooters are available in cities, individuals may now know they are likely to ride one on a given day, and thus pre-plan to bring a helmet with them.”
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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!