If I were to take a wild guess I’d say you’ve recently stumbled upon the latest fad of people riding electric scooters around town. It seems like they came out of nowhere. One day they started appearing, the next day they’re everywhere you go. People’s reactions have been fairly polar on this matter. Some are amazed and appreciative of this new form of transportation for busy cities, while others are criticizing the safety and public image of having these scooters scattered around everywhere you lay your eyes. The question that comes to mind is, how safe are these electric scooters?
Are Electric Scooters a dangerous trend?
Part of the reason electric scooters sky-rocketed their way into our streets goes to the convenience and simplicity of using them. All you have to do is download an app, create a profile, scan a barcode, and poof, you’re on your way. But with this widespread implementation comes a serious safety concern among community members. Especially that there has been an alarming number of scooter accidents happening lately across the country.
With limited bicycle lanes and poor infrastructure that wasn’t designed with electric scooters in mind, coupled with the amount of impaired/distracted drivers on the road, mistakes and accidents are bound to happen. And happen they did. Some of the accidents left riders with serious injuries and even death in some rare cases.
City officials working on regulations
Due to these unfortunate events, officials in all cities that allow the use of electric scooters are working hard to create regulations that ensure the safety of riders and minimizes unfortunate accidents.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been one of the leaders in addressing the issues with electric scooter use on public streets in our cities. He has proposed many new regulations for riders in San Diego stating, “First and foremost, public safety is our top priority and that will be reflected in these common-sense regulations.”
These new rules include limiting scooter speeds to 8 mph in congested areas, such as beaches and parts of downtown. He’s also requiring the companies operating these scooters such as Bird, Lime, and Skip, to run extensive campaigns educating the public about safety, and to share monthly data reports with the city for monitoring and planning. Other city officials across the country are following suit by implementing their own regulations.
Start-ups race to improve the safety of their scooters
Officials at Bird, the leading company in this field have been combatting the issue of safety for a while. The company embraces a set of rules and regulations on their website and the body of all scooters. The “Rules of the road” are:
- You must be 18+ years old with a valid driver’s license
- Bird is fun with friends, but only one rider per Bird is permitted
- Follow all traffic rules including street signs and stop signs
- Use caution at crosswalks
In an effort to further enhance safety measures, Bird offers riders free helmets through their website (Riders need to cover shipping costs). Yet, people don’t adhere to these rules which creates safety issues for the rider and pedestrians as well.
With valuations that are shooting through the roof for both Lime and Bird, being valued at $1 Billion and $2 Billion dollars respectively, the question that arises is how much are they willing to invest in safety measures?