Transportation Trends: Scooters and Their Impact
Large cities are looking at numerous ways to improve their traffic issues. One of the latest trends that can be found in Phoenix and other significant metro areas across the United States is the incorporation of electric scooters.
Companies like JUMP, Lime, and Bird Rides are using electric scooters to create micro-mobility opportunities when short-term urban commutes are necessary. It is cheaper than using Uber or Lyft, and this option doesn’t require too great a level of physical fitness like a bike-sharing program.
Both Lime and Bird are valued at more than $2 billion, which makes them some of the fastest-rising tech companies in history.
It also raises some questions about the future of automobiles and the safety of our roads.
How Safe Are Electric Scooters to Use?
Electric scooters are a fast and affordable way to get to where you need to be. These benefits can come with a significant risk of injury.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study that looked at scooter-related activities in an urban environment between the months of September to November in 2018. During this period, there were 271 injuries reported related to this transportation method.
This information led researchers to conclude that 20 injuries occur for every 100,000 trips that people take with a scooter.
Almost half of the incidents that happened involved a head injury, with 15% of the riders experiencing a traumatic brain injury. Only 1 out of 190 injured riders was wearing a helmet when their accident occurred.
Tempe and Phoenix are seeing the same surge of incidents occur with this transportation option. Between June-December 2018, 119 scooter-related incidents resulted in injuries.
Arizona State University responded to 33 scooter-related calls during this time as well, with one-third of the incidents involving a fall.
What Are the Causes of Scooter Accidents?
In February 2019, a late-night incident involved an Uber driver and someone using a Lime scooter. As the driver changed lanes to enter the ramp of I-35 in Austin, TX, the person on the scooter was struck because he was traveling the wrong way on the service road.
When a scooter and a vehicle collide, the injuries can be severe and life-threatening.
Accidents can happen because of failed hardware and irresponsible riding practices. Even though Lime and Bird offer to send free helmets to riders who request them, choosing safety and proper riding etiquette is up to each pedestrian.
How to Ride Electric Scooters Safely
Wearing a helmet is an excellent first step to knowing how to ride an electric scooter safely. You will also want to have familiarity with local driving laws – and then decide to follow them. That helps to keep you and everyone else on the road safe.
Another easy way to avoid injury is to keep your hands on the handlebars at all times. If texting and driving in a vehicle is problematic, imagine what it is like when using a scooter!
One-third of scooter users also acknowledge that they drank alcohol in the last 12 hours. You can still get a DUI if you are over the legal limit.
It is also safer to be on a scooter by yourself instead of with a partner.
When each person takes responsibility for their safety by wearing the proper equipment and following traffic laws, this micro-mobility option can be a positive addition to our cities. If you like to ride scooters, then do your part to help everyone come home safely after each trip.