Electric scooters started out as a fun way to get around. Unlike an automobile, they don’t need gas; unlike a bicycle, there is no pedaling. However, they are leading to deadly situations.
Pat Brogan, 63, rented one of these e-scooters while on vacation. While descending a steep hill, she realized the brakes were not working. “I blew through three intersections and luckily didn’t get hit, she said. I’m now going 25 mph heading toward six lanes of traffic.” (CNet.com) Brogan ended up in the hospital, after sliding the scooter out sideways, and skidding about 10 feet on the pavement.
Brogan had a broken metacarpal, a cracked knuckle joint, a hematoma on her leg, and road rash. Her left hand was so swollen that her rings had to be cut off. Two surgeries were performed on her right hand to hold her metacarpal together with two metal pins.
Some would consider Brogan lucky. She said, “If I didn’t crash when I did, I would’ve been killed, I’m sure of that.”
Two people have been killed on e-scooters: A 24-year-old man fell off of a scooter and suffered from head injuries that killed him.
In the second fatality, 20-year-old man was killed in a collision with an SUV in a crosswalk. He “was dragged about 20 yards, according to a witness, and pinned under the silver SUV…Firefighters had to extricate the man from underneath the SUV.”
Like Pat Brogan, others have been hurt badly. The stories are often gruesome, like “a tourist who accidentally turned into oncoming traffic and was hit head-on by a pickup truck.” Here’s another one: A rider traveling at full speed, “clipped a metal drainpipe and was thrown over the handlebars, breaking both arms.” Another rider ran a red light and hit two pedestrians, who both ended up with minor injuries.
Injuries reported have ranged from black eyes and head fractures to broken ribs, collarbones, scapulas and ankles, to collapsed lungs and ruptured spleens.
Because these rental scooters are just dropped off on city sidewalks for people to rent, they are not necessarily coming with the user manual containing vehicle maintenance instructions and instructions on how to ride safely, which someone who buys one of these off the shelf would receive.
Siaomi and Segway (manufacturers of electric scooters) say scooters should be checked before every use, and should be stored in a “cool, dry place.” Other recommendations include “wear a helmet, avoid contacting obstacles with the tire, and be aware of speed because the faster the scooter is, the longer it takes to top… a rider should weigh no more than 220 pounds.”
These electric scooters are being left outdoors all day, and probably aren’t being checked before each use. Also, some are being vandalized.
When a rider rents an electric scooter, he/she is required to click a button agreeing to the app’s terms of service. This lengthy “agreement basically says users take on all responsibility for what happens during rides. Even when it may result in injury or death to you or others.”
Two cities in South Carolina have temporarily banned these e-scooters: Columbia and Charleston. Not only are the scooters dangerous for the rider, pedestrians, and drivers on the roads, but they create tripping hazards and eye sores when they are left on city sidewalks.
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