Will City Ordinances Make Electric Scooters Safer?
When Alfred Hitchcock warned about “the birds” he probably wasn’t picturing electric scooters. But the streets of Atlanta certainly felt like a horror movie last summer when thousands of electric scooters from Bird and other companies appeared overnight.
New Rules for Electric Scooter Safety
There are plenty of benefits to these readily available electric scooters. It’s reported that around 25 percent of commuters who use electric scooters have started using their cars less to zoom around the city. Unfortunately, there have also been plenty of problems. Improper use leaves electric scooters discarded in the middle of sidewalks and, like any motorized vehicle, there are safety risks for riders. A report from the emergency room at Grady Hospital noted that they see around 100 injuries each month related to the use of electric scooters.
In early January, the Atlanta city council voted to allow the scooters to remain on the streets, but with stricter regulations. In addition to charging companies to put electric scooters on the streets, new city ordinances also impose safety rules on riders. If you’re planning on scooting anywhere this spring, here are four new rules you need to follow.
- Electric scooters cannot be used on sidewalks. Riders must stick to shared paths, bike lanes, and the street.
- Only one rider is allowed per electric scooter, and the speed limit on electric scooters is 15 mph max.
- Don’t “text and scoot.” Just like when you’re behind the wheel of the car, riders are not allowed to use their cell phones while on an electric scooter.
- When you’re done riding, electric scooters must be parked upright. Don’t leave your electric scooter blocking the sidewalk.
While these city ordinances may help tackle some problems of electric scooters, personal safety for riders and pedestrians is still a huge concern. There is no law that requires riders to wear safety gear, but we strongly encourage everyone who uses electric scooters to wear a helmet, as well as knee pads, elbow pads, and close-toed shoes. It’s also important to keep both hands on the handlebar, pay attention to traffic and pedestrians, and don’t wear earbuds or headphones while riding.
It looks like Birds won’t be flying anywhere this summer, so if you plan on using them, be sure to do so safely.