Rented electric scooters will soon be on the streets of Albuquerque, as the city has begun accepting permit applications for their use. This has been anticipated for months, ever since the city began gathering scooters for rental in warehouses. Part of the delay, however, has been over concerns about the impact electric scooters will have on public safety.
The issue of scooter safety is being studied heavily in Austin, Texas. The city, which hosts about 15,000 licensed scooters, had reached out to the Centers for Disease Control to perform a study on scooter safety with the aim of adjusting public policy to ensure the safety of scooter riders and the pedestrians who share space with them. The study is expected to be published this month.
The study looked at a 60-day period and reached out to 258 individuals known to have suffered scooter-related injuries in Austin. Another study will begin this spring and continue for a year in Portland, Oregon. These studies will not be the first to look at the impact of scooters, as Portland has already conducted a four-month study which identified 176 people injured on scooters. Eighty-four percent of those who went to the emergency room during that period had fallen from their scooter, and 90 percent of riders didn’t wear helmets.
With such concerns around the nation, the city of Albuquerque was hesitant to give out permits before a solid policy of public safety was established. Now that a policy is in place, permits are expected to be issued beginning on March 22. One major rule the city has adopted aims at limiting the number of scooters on the road at any one time. By issuing fines for scooters that take up space and remain unused, the city hopes companies will be encouraged to limit the number of available scooters to those which are actively making them money.
Scooter rental companies will also be required to move parked scooters that block sidewalks, bike share stations, driveways, accessible ramps, bus stops or handicapped parking. They would also need to have someone on site within the city who can respond to emergencies at any time of day. While some companies have expressed a certain amount of concern for these measures, such rules would ensure that responsibility for public safety belongs to the owners and operators of the scooters themselves.
If these companies and their customers are respecting the law, scooters should have very little impact on the safety of pedestrians. When they do, however, you will need someone on your side to get the justice you deserve. Contact us today if you have any questions or have been the victim of a pedestrian accident.