Electric vehicles in all shapes and sizes are becoming more common in Texas. Governments are trying to decide how to regulate them just as users are trying to learn out how to safely use them. Electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and scooters are entering the market. As this new technology improves, you may find that getting around was never easier. But was it safer?
The injuries and accidents involving electric scooters in Austin from last September through November will be studied by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports USA Today. These scooters, narrow, two-wheeled vehicles with a handlebar for steering, first became popular when they were powered the old-fashioned way, by pushes by the rider’s feet and gravity pulling downhill. Now, electric motors do the work.
The CDC is studying the “dockless scooters” (scooters that can be picked up and dropped off anywhere) to better understand the health and safety risks associated with their use. This is the first study of its kind in the U.S. A team of CDC epidemiologists came to Austin in December to investigate what led to scooter crashes and how to prevent them.
It focuses on EMS calls and emergency room data concerning scooter crashes and resulting injuries. Data will be reviewed and those involved in the crashes will be interviewed to determine how the accidents happened. The study could result in new rules for scooters and their riders in Austin. The finding are expected to be made public in the spring.
Seven companies have licenses to operate 11,000 scooters in Austin. In October, there were 275,300 scooter trips, covering 264,300 miles, according to Austin City Council’s Mobility Committee. That month, there were 14 scooter crashes, nine injuries and no fatalities.
With new transportation technology comes learning curves for all those involved, including users, law enforcement, regulators and manufacturers. There are plenty of red flags waving, warning us that electrically powered scooters are not toys that can be driven without care.
- Just a few days after the study was announced, a man using a powered scooter was critically injured in Austin, according to Fox 7 Austin.
- The first reported death of an electric scooter rider occurred in Dallas in September. A 24-year-old city man was killed by blunt force injuries to his head after falling off the scooter, according to county officials, reports the Washington Post. Jacoby Stoneking was found unconscious and badly injured several hundred yards from a scooter that was broken in half.
- Three weeks after Stoneking’s death, a man in Washington, D.C., suffered fatal injuries after the electric scooter he was riding struck an SUV. He was pinned under the vehicle and rescue workers were able to free him, but he later died of his injuries, reports the BBC.
If you have been injured because of the negligence of another as a pedestrian or the rider in an accident involving a powered scooter, contact us today for a free consultation so we can discuss the situation, the applicable laws and your legal rights to compensation for your injuries.