Electric scooters, which are like a skateboard with handles and an electric motor, are hitting streets all over America. If you have been to cities like Santa Monica, New York or Nashville recently, you’ve probably seen them everywhere. We are starting to see them in Seattle, Portland and other Pacific Northwest cities, but not in the huge numbers seen in other cities. But expect them in bigger numbers soon. Now is the time to start thinking about safety with regard to these machines, and how we can best incorporate them into our transportation infrastructure without increasing the risk of injuries and death. These machines pose risk not only to riders, but also bicyclists, car drivers and pedestrians.
The New York Times ran a telling opinion piece on June 17, 2019, regarding the experience the city of Nashville has had with the arrival of the electric scooter:
The article cites a study conducted in Austin, Texas, that found nearly half the people injured on an electric scooter sustained head injuries, and 15 percent of those head injuries were classified as “traumatic.” Less than 1 percent of the injured rider, the study notes, were wearing helmets.
So what we can we do to be safe when the scooters arrive? Here are some tips:
- Wear a helmet.
- Don’t operate the machine if you are under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.
- Follow the rules of the road (don’t run red lights, stop at stop signs, don’t weave between traffic).
- Don’t wear headphone or earbuds that prevent you from hearing traffic or pedestrians.
- Don’t ride with more than one person on a scooter.
- Don’t carry items that prevent you from keeping both hands on the handles of the scooter.
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- Don’t leave scooters in places that post hazards to pedestrians or users of wheelchairs (sidewalk ramps for example).
- Follow instructions on the machine with regard to appropriate minimum age for use.
- Use common sense!
What other tips do you have?
If you or someone you know is injured in a incident involving a scooter, give our attorneys a call and we can discuss what legal options that may be available for making a full recovery.