As more and more people are jumping on the e-scooter bandwagon, the ubiquitous electric vehicles are now leaving a slew of injured people in their wake. In fact, many injured people have been transported to the emergency rooms due to e-scooter accidents. As e-scooter ridership increases accidents will also increase.
E-scooters are easy, and many consider them to be a fun way to get around town. If you have a smartphone, which most of us do these days, it only takes a couple of minutes to rent one, locate it, and zoom away. But as with most issues, there are opposing opinions. Advocates comment that the e-scooters are a great, inexpensive alternative mode of transportation for city streets that are often packed. And of course, there are many who simply state that the e-scooters are fun and exciting, and that is why they are popular.
Fort Lauderdale, one of Florida’s first cities to adopt these electric scooters, has seen their fleet exceeds a million miles traveled mark—that’s a lot of e-scooter riding. Data on the city’s website indicates that an average of 481 people are riding daily. And in Miami, an estimated half-million people have taken rides in 2019.
Many city officials are on board. Miami Commissioner, Ken Russell, a longtime supporter of this new industry, went on record to say, “I’m a big believer that the e-scooter sharing system is going to have a big impact on our transit needs and the way we get around town.” And the city commissioner may be right because thus far there are six e-scooter companies thriving in the district that he oversees. From Coconut Grove to Brickell, and all the way to downtown Miami… e-scooters are making their way through busy traffic as ridership continues to increase.
But Accidents Are Occurring Regularly
Many public safety advocates acknowledge that these e-scooters can certainly be dangerous. In the short period from December, 2018 to the early weeks of July 2019, the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale saw 129 accidents occur in which an e-scooter was involved. One notable accident resulted in the death of Mathias Huff (27) who died in the spring after succumbing to injuries he received when his e-scooter was struck by a car in Fort Lauderdale.
And the accidents continue… Tracy Jordan, a young mother with four children, has seen the suffering e-scooter dangers can bring. Jordan’s eldest, Ashanti, sustained a traumatic brain injury when she collided with an automobile in December, 2018. Police reports stated that Ashanti failed to stop at a traffic stop sign and was struck by the vehicle, which then launched her body into the air. In an instant, Ashanti transitioned from an employee simply heading home after work into a Broward Health Medical Center emergency trauma victim.
While Ashanti’s injuries are on the more severe end of the accident spectrum, ER physicians do admit that e-scooter accidents are absolutely occurring with increasingly greater frequency. Dr. Jason Mansour, the Assistant Medical Director of Broward Medical Health Center’s Emergency Department commented on the dangers, “People underestimate how dangerous it is when you have to brake suddenly or if they have to turn suddenly.” Mansour also stated, “The vast majority (of injuries) are lacerations and broken bones … We do see significant numbers of head trauma and those are the ones that concern us the most.” And the area’s professional paramedics echo this concern stating that some of the most severe accidents are ones in which the e-scooter is struck by an automobile.
Increased Danger for Young Riders
The age of riders often has an impact on the relative level of danger as well. Commissioner Russell openly admitted, “They are dangerous,” and he went on to add that, “It’s not a kids’ toy.” While many advocates of the e-scooters do acknowledge that there is some obvious potential danger, and e-scooter companies actually forbid minors from riding, nothing seems to be stopping kids from riding. It is easy to spot underage kids all over the city, zooming down streets, and sidewalks, sometimes creating dangerous situations—for themselves, for pedestrians, and automobile drivers as well.
Russell believes that it is important to educate parents about the existing e-scooter rules, stressing that the minimum age to ride these electric scooters is 18 in Miami. Commissioner Russell went on to say, “We need to do a lot more because clearly, the simple rules that the apps contain are being bypassed.”
Tragically, underage numerous kids in Fort Lauderdale have suffered injuries in electric scooter accidents in just the few recently passed months. This spate of injuries from dangerous e-scooter collisions included a 14-year-old boy who sustained multiple injuries when his e-scooter was struck by an automobile in the early part of December, 2018. In this particular case, police reports indicate that the boy’s older brother rented the e-scooter and then allowed the 14-year old access.
A few e-scooter companies have initiated programs that seek to educate riders, and in some instances, they’re even handing out free helmets. But although most e-scooter companies have stated they are strongly committed to public safety, clearly much work still needs to be done to achieve safety for all riders, pedestrians, and motorists.
Tracy Jordan, the mother of the accident victim, Ashanti, has since decided to take legal action against the e-scooter giant, Lime. And it should come as no surprise that litigation will surely be a part of the equation ongoing, as e-scooter accidents continue to occur.