Scooter Safety Is Becoming a Major Concern in Austin
Scooter Safety Is Becoming a Major Concern in Austin

Scooters have emerged as an affordable and popular way to travel in the city, but there are unforeseen consequences of this trend.

One company, Lime, is feeling the squeeze after a woman crashed one of their rental stand-up scooters in Austin in early August, striking a curb and slamming head-first into the pavement, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The rider was not wearing a helmet, despite Lime’s policy that all riders must wear them.

Lime operates dockless electric scooters and pedal-assist bikes in more than 60 U.S. cities and several cities in Europe. To ride them, a customer can use the Lime app to find and unlock a scooter nearby, then park the scooter at the end of the ride and use the app to lock it. The goal of scooter-sharing companies like Lime and Bird, which have been called …

Safety Concerns About Austin’s Dockless Scooter System
Safety Concerns About Austin’s Dockless Scooter System

In April, two California companies launched dockless scooter systems in Austin. The City Council limited the two companies – LimeBike and Bird – to 500 scooters each, until the city determines the feasibility of dockless scooter systems.

In theory, riders use a scooter and leave it next to a bike rack or some other out-of-the-way area; but by mid-April, the city had impounded 55 scooters that were blocking sidewalks, roads, or public areas. By mid-May, the city was scrambling to regulate scooters and published 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements.

Scooter Laws in Texas

The Austin Department of Transportation’s new rules address several safety concerns. The rules apply to scooters and bikeshare bicycles.

Companies operating either of those devices in Austin are now required to:

  • By Aug. 1, outfit all units with technology that tells the

Safety Concerns About Austin’s Dockless Scooter System
Bike Recalls in Austin, TX

In September, 13 bicycle manufacturers recalled more than 1.3 million bicycles in the U.S. for a problem that could cause the bike to stop unexpectedly. On certain bicycle models with disc brakes, the quick-release lever could become entangled with the brake rotor and increase the risk of a crash. It was a problem first identified by Trek, the company that recalled about 900,000 of its bikes in April.

This recall seems remarkably similar to the Takata automotive airbag recall, which began with Honda recalling a few thousand vehicles seven years ago, but as of late November had grown to include more than 23 million vehicles and a dozen automakers.

Both the Takata recall and the bicycle recall involved third-party parts sold to manufacturers, raising questions about who is ultimately to blame when a serious mechanical failure occurs. So far, only …