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    Thread: Silent & Deadly: Boom in electric scooters leads to more injuries, fatalities...

    1. Member Uber Wagon's Avatar
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      06-11-2019 01:01 PM #1


      Andrew Hardy was crossing the street on an electric scooter in downtown Los Angeles when a car struck him at 50 miles per hour and flung him 15 feet in the air before he smacked his head on the pavement and fell unconscious.

      The 26-year-old snapped two bones in each leg, broke a thighbone, shattered a kneecap, punctured a lung and fractured three vertebrae in his neck, in addition to sustaining a head injury.

      “My brother thought I was dead,” said Hardy, who wasn’t wearing a helmet.

      Doctors told Hardy he’d likely be paralyzed for life. Five months later, he has learned to walk again. But he says he’ll never ride another scooter.


      “These scooters should not be available to the public,” Hardy said. “Those things are like a death wish.”

      As stand-up electric scooters have rolled into more than 100 cities worldwide, many of the people riding them are ending up in the emergency room with serious injuries. Others have been killed. There are no comprehensive statistics available but a rough count by The Associated Press of media reports turned up at least 11 electric scooter rider deaths in the U.S. since the beginning of 2018. Nine were on rented scooters and two on ones the victims owned.

      With summer fast approaching, the numbers will undoubtedly grow as more riders take to the streets. Despite the risks, demand for the two-wheeled scooters continues to soar, popularized by companies like Lime and Bird. In the U.S. alone, riders took 38.5 million trips on rentable scooters in 2018, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

      Riders adore the free-flying feel of the scooters that have a base the size of a skateboard and can rev up to 15 miles per hour. They’re also cheap and convenient, costing about $1 to unlock with a smartphone app and about 15 cents per minute to ride. And in many cities, they can be dropped off just about anywhere after a rider reaches their destination.

      But pedestrians and motorists scorn the scooters as a nuisance at best and a danger at worst.

      Cities, meanwhile, can hardly keep up. In many cases, scooter-sharing companies dropped them onto sidewalks overnight without warning.

      Regulations vary from place to place. In New York and the U.K., electric scooters are illegal on public roads and sidewalks, even though riders routinely flout the law. Last week in the Swedish city of Helsingborg, a rider was struck and killed by a car just one day after scooters were introduced there, leading to immediate calls for a ban. And in Nashville, Tennessee, where another rider was killed, the city’s mayor warned scooter operators they had 30 days to clean up their act or he would propose a ban.


      Fed up with the thousands of scooters flooding Paris streets, Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced new regulations Thursday limiting the number of scooter operators and imposing a 5 mile-per-hour speed limit in areas with heavy foot traffic. The city has already imposed a 135 euro ($150) fine on anyone who rides scooters on sidewalks.

      Isabelle Albertin, a pianist at Paris’ famed Opera Garnier, suffered a double fracture of her right arm after she was run down by an electric scooter on May 17. She is suing the city and has started an organization to push for a ban.

      “On the sidewalks of Paris, it’s a total madhouse. We pedestrians are totally insecure,” she told Le Parisien newspaper.

      Data on injuries or fatalities linked to scooters is hard to come by because the industry is so new. In Austin, Texas, public health officials working with the Centers for Disease Control counted 192 scooter-related injuries in three months in 2018. Nearly half were head injuries, including 15% that were traumatic brain injuries like concussions and bleeding of the brain. Less than 1% of the injured riders wore a helmet.

      Bird, one of the largest scooter-sharing companies, dropped its scooters on the streets of Santa Monica, California, in September 2017 and within a few months riders were showing up at the emergency room, according to Dr. Tarak Trivedi, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles and co-author of one of the first peer-reviewed studies of scooter injuries. The following year, Trivedi and his colleagues counted 249 scooter injuries, and more than 40% were head injuries. Just 4% were wearing a helmet.

      “I don’t think our roads are ready for this,” Trivedi said.

      Bird and Lime both recommend that riders wear helmets, and they’ve handed out tens of thousands for free. But last year, Bird successfully fought a California proposal that would have required helmets for adults, maintaining that scooters should follow the same laws as electric bikes that don’t require adult helmets.

      Bird says helmet requirements are off-putting to riders and could lead to fewer scooters on the road. Almost counterintuitively, the company argues that it’s better to have more riders than less because it forces drivers to pay attention to them.

      “There’s a safety in numbers effect, where the motorists know that there’s people out on the street, so they act accordingly,” said Paul Steely White, director of safety policy and advocacy for Bird.

      Getting people to wear helmets is a challenge. Riders don’t want exposure to lice or germs that could be found in shared helmets, and many make a spontaneous decision to scoot while they’re already out and about.

      That was the case when Drew Howerton, 19, hopped on a Lime scooter on a whim last October in Austin. He recalls signing a waiver that said he should wear a helmet, but he didn’t have one on him.

      “I didn’t show up in Austin thinking I’m going to ride a scooter today, better bring my helmet,” Howerton said.

      Scooter-sharing companies generally restrict riding to those 18 years and up, but some children, or their parents, have found ways around that. A 5-year-old boy died in Oklahoma after he fell from a scooter he was riding on with his mother and was struck by a car.

      Bird and Lime are taking steps to try to make scooters safer. After observing that scooter-related fatalities often occur after midnight when riders may have been drinking, Bird ceased operations after midnight. Lime halts rentals overnight in some markets but in most its scooters are available all night.

      Lime has also been updating the design of its scooters, with a broader wheel base and better suspension and braking; Bird is including more durable brakes and reinforced hardware to prevent failures.

      Both companies have been pushing cities for more bike lanes and better infrastructure as their riders navigate roads and traffic under conditions that were designed for cars and trucks.

      “The reality is, cars continue to kill more people annually than any other mode of transportation,” Lime said in a statement. “We must address this issue together with cities, get people out of their vehicles, and build cities that put people first, with smarter infrastructure to protect riders.”

      For Howerton, his first experience with a scooter left him scarred. Even though he read the warning not to ride downhill, he did it anyway since hills are hard to avoid in Austin. When he tried to brake, he flew off the scooter and hit his head on the pavement, blood gushing into his eyes.

      “These companies, for the large part, they show up in cities and they just kind of dump these rideshare devices,” Howerton said. “They tout them as this really cool, innovative, public transportation thing that’s cheap and affordable and yeah it is, but they’re dangerous and they don’t think about the potential health consequences.”
      https://www.apnews.com/33f376b91e5945efbcbb2c460b1d0dcc
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    3. Member Samson's Avatar
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      06-11-2019 01:12 PM #2
      These aren't so common around where I live, but we were recently in northern CA... they were everywhere. People going the wrong way down shoulder-less roads, not paying attention on greenways and sidewalks, etc. Basically nobody was wearing a helmet (yeah, there are studies about not really needing to in congested environments, at least on bikes). Pretty nutty. They do look like fun though, assuming they can be used with some sense of self preservation.

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      06-11-2019 01:52 PM #3
      EV scooters are terrible. Here in Montreal there is no EV scooter ride-sharing service, and the type of people that buy and use them seem here seem to be on welfare. They generally have poor jugement, and alot of them are fat and out of shape, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence in how they can handle their scooters in emergency situations.

      The speed differential and reckless driving behavior is really dangerous. Because there's no physical effort involved, they're pretty much doing top speed at all times, roughly 20mph. Although that doesn't seem fast, it sure it when you're stepping out of a shop onto a sidewalk, and one flies by you, inches away. Same for bike lanes and walking paths in parks. The other day I saw one zipping through a park doing around 20mph slaloming through kids. Most cyclists in the same area travel at half that speed. Then, the same idiot slaloming between people in the park will be doing 30kmh in the middle of an active lane, in a 50kmh zone, holding up traffic and enraging drivers behind them, cutting through multiple lanes without signaling, blowing stops and red lights. Obviously, all this with no helmet.

      They're too fast/heavy to be around pedestrians, and too small/slow to be on roads. And we can't ban them here, because they have pedals so they're considering ''bicycles'', even though 99% of their drivers are so out of shape, they wouldn't even be able to pedal one of these things for a single city block.

    5. Member Car Problems's Avatar
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      06-11-2019 02:39 PM #4
      Everytime I see someone riding these they are going way too fast and it looks like its the first time they have ever been on a mobile anything. If you never skateboarded or did some extreme sport, Id stay away from these.

    6. Member George Bluth's Avatar
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      06-11-2019 02:42 PM #5
      In DC they tell you they're illegal on sidewalks and can only be used on roads. Well I ignore the **** out of that and only use it on sidewalks/bike lanes. I've been using them often since last summer, and have not once been stopped to be told I'm doing something wrong.

      I'm not riding a scooter in the middle of the ****ing road. If the sidewalk is crowded I hop off and walk with it until I've passed.
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      06-11-2019 02:50 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Dubveiser View Post
      the type of people that buy and use them seem here seem to be on welfare.
      Same with my area. I call them DUI Bikes and Welfare Wheels.
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      06-11-2019 03:06 PM #7
      My buddy in Montana recently bought an electric "off road" skateboard. He is loving it and already has over 100 miles on it. There is a handheld remote to control his speed. He did have a history skateboarding so at least there is that.

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      06-11-2019 03:08 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Double-V View Post
      Same with my area. I call them DUI Bikes and Welfare Wheels.
      Do you think one could go 130mph+ on one and run over a Nissan Altima?

    10. Member Uber Wagon's Avatar
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      06-11-2019 03:12 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Eye Candy White View Post
      Do you think one could go 130mph+ on one and run over a Nissan Altima?
      He said welfare wheels, not subprime repos.
      Last edited by Uber Wagon; 06-11-2019 at 03:25 PM.
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      06-11-2019 03:24 PM #10
      Cities need to stop letting corporations litter this garbage all over their sidewalks.
      call it potatography

    12. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      06-11-2019 03:56 PM #11
      They're banned altogether in Seattle, but I enjoy riding them when I travel in other cities. I definitely feel like I'm in danger a lot of the time though, especially in cities that don't acknowledge pedestrians (i.e. last weekend in Austin, TX).

      Quote Originally Posted by George Bluth View Post
      In DC they tell you they're illegal on sidewalks and can only be used on roads. Well I ignore the **** out of that and only use it on sidewalks/bike lanes. I've been using them often since last summer, and have not once been stopped to be told I'm doing something wrong.

      I'm not riding a scooter in the middle of the ****ing road. If the sidewalk is crowded I hop off and walk with it until I've passed.
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      06-11-2019 04:20 PM #12
      First, I highly recommend watching the southpark episode on these scooters. hilarious.

      Second, everyone in my office hates them other than the youngest associates. They're annoying, they clutter the streets. They're a prime example of the tragedy of the commons.

      That said, I don't exactly disagree with the idea. it's like public bicycles that you can rent. It's also clearly helping to get rid of some morons, albeit one at a time. So they aren't entirely useless. They need to have designated drop off/pick up points and enforce laws that make them comply with the same laws a bicyclist would.
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      06-11-2019 06:23 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      They're banned altogether in Seattle
      Not for long.

      https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle...y-durkan-says/
      call it potatography

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      06-11-2019 11:31 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      especially in cities that don't acknowledge pedestrians (i.e. last weekend in Austin, TX).
      We acknowledge certain pedestrians.
      We also hate most visitors.
      And people who have recently moved here.
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      06-12-2019 09:17 AM #15
      I do enjoy that there is no sense of accountability for the person riding the scooter, or the driver of the car....... interesting... clearly its the scooter company's fault.
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      06-12-2019 09:35 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by GTijoejoe View Post
      I do enjoy that there is no sense of accountability for the person riding the scooter, or the driver of the car....... interesting... clearly its the scooter company's fault.
      Working in Baltimore City I see these things all the time and I think one of the biggest issues is many of the scooter riders don't seem to follow rules consistently. Some follow the rules of a road similar to a bicycle others will follow traffic. Then some just act like they are the only ones around and do what will get them ahead from going on the sidewalk to the road to running red lights. I have found I have to watch them as if they are a toddler where you have no idea what they will do.

      While I'm not saying car drivers have a rigorous testing method but these scooters operators have zero training and while some seem to have good control others don't have any and act like it is everyone else's problem.

      Combine that with the fact these rental scooters have near zero insurance and no protection for riders can leave them having a large medical bill with no way to pay it!
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      06-12-2019 09:39 AM #17
      Ev on Ev love right here.

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      06-12-2019 09:44 AM #18
      Electric Scooters - and especially their lawless riders - are the scourge of modern life on the Westside.

      May they all rot and/or burn in hell.

      I now reminisce of the simpler times when it was the plague of Priuses (Prii?) - and their hypermiler drivers - were the bane of my happy existence.
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      06-12-2019 09:58 AM #19
      Here in Nashville I find that I have to be more alert because we have a TON of tourists riding everywhere on these, and the speeds often take me by surprise.

      For example, I was making a left turn and didn't see any pedestrians in my peripheral vision, so I stopped at the edge of the street instead of behind the crosswalk. Suddenly a guy on the sidewalk with a scooter flies in front of me from my right to my left.

      Is it partly my fault for not stopping at the right point? Absolutely.

      But the rider should have been on the street riding with the flow of traffic, and not drive so fast.

      Maybe a compromise would be set the speed limiters to 10 mph or something???
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      06-12-2019 11:43 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      Electric Scooters - and especially their lawless riders - are the scourge of modern life on the Westside.

      May they all rot and/or burn in hell.

      I now reminisce of the simpler times when it was the plague of Priuses (Prii?) - and their hypermiler drivers - were the bane of my happy existence.
      Says the guy driving a Rav4...

      I'm also not a fan of the EV scooter fad; it's dangerous, as noted, and becomes problematic for both car and pedestrian traffic because no one riding these scooters knows what the hell they're doing.

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      06-12-2019 12:11 PM #21
      Oddly enough I just got confirmation that my new Boosted Boards Rev scooter with a 22 mph top speed is about to ship.



      I love e-anything these days, but like everything else that has wheels, there is some inherent risk to going faster than one might otherwise walk. Out here in the suburbs you don't see many scooters, but up in Tempe near ASU, they are everywhere. They litter the corners of the streets and seem to be ridden by people that should probably not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle of any sort.

      I think that we will be seeing many more head injuries and incidents like this as more and more e-scooters are pushed out further and further into the suburbs. The idea of e-anything requiring a formal registration and insurance is an interesting proposition, as it would make these rentals more like renting a car, rather than renting a thing.

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      06-12-2019 12:20 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by MontoyaF1 View Post
      Here in Nashville I find that I have to be more alert because we have a TON of tourists riding everywhere on these, and the speeds often take me by surprise.

      For example, I was making a left turn and didn't see any pedestrians in my peripheral vision, so I stopped at the edge of the street instead of behind the crosswalk. Suddenly a guy on the sidewalk with a scooter flies in front of me from my right to my left.
      Dude there are so many ****ing scooters in Nashville. I thought DC had a lot, but Nashville's human to scooter ratio is like 1:1.
      Quote Originally Posted by Cameron1152 View Post
      lol a vw 1.8t will put down 201/194 with a cranked wastegate and open exhaust after cat.
      Quote Originally Posted by Cameron1152 View Post
      a 35000 dollar civic (and average dealer markup is in the 14k range right now) getting **** on in every way by a 02 jetta is a big deal.. for 35k I can buy a golf r and have more power, more torque, better interior, better engine (more tested) AWD, and not pay 14k in markup.

    24. 06-12-2019 12:33 PM #23
      No license, no insurance, no training, no helmets, no lighting, useless brakes, useless suspension, too-small tires that are vulnerable to potholes and train tracks and pavement edges. What could possibly go wrong?

      E-bikes were bad enough. IMO those should be treated as limited-speed motorcycles, complete with licensing and insurance. At least those have lighting, brakes, decently sized wheels and tires (most of them).

      As far as I'm concerned, if it has a "motor" (doesn't matter that it's electric) then it is a "motor vehicle" and the relevant motor vehicle safety standards should apply. If it has wheels and it's being used on public roads then it's a "vehicle" and the relevant licensing and insurance requirements should apply, and yes, that includes bicycles.

    25. Member 66Satellite's Avatar
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      06-12-2019 12:34 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by turbo_nine View Post
      Cities need to stop letting corporations litter this garbage all over their sidewalks.
      this

    26. Member 66Satellite's Avatar
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      06-12-2019 12:36 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
      No license, no insurance, no training, no helmets, no lighting, useless brakes, useless suspension, too-small tires that are vulnerable to potholes and train tracks and pavement edges. What could possibly go wrong?

      E-bikes were bad enough. IMO those should be treated as limited-speed motorcycles, complete with licensing and insurance. At least those have lighting, brakes, decently sized wheels and tires (most of them).

      As far as I'm concerned, if it has a "motor" (doesn't matter that it's electric) then it is a "motor vehicle" and the relevant motor vehicle safety standards should apply. If it has wheels and it's being used on public roads then it's a "vehicle" and the relevant licensing and insurance requirements should apply, and yes, that includes bicycles.
      I agree except the bike part. Bikes are human-powered. Sadly, soon no one will be able to tell a human-powered bike from an e-bike so human-powered bicycles are gonna get dragged down with this mess.

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