Shared electric scooter rentals have become a trend in major cities across the United States. Companies like Bird and Lime, and even companies like Uber and Lyft are renting out electric motor scooters. The process is simple. Download the app, find a nearby scooter, scan it, put in your credit card, and go. An up-front fee is charged, then the charge is calculated on a per-minute usage basis. While the e-scooters are immensely popular, especially in major cities and college campuses, many jurisdictions are now scrambling on how to regulate the vehicles, as Consumer Reports reports.
Since late 2017, there have been at least 1,500 people injured while riding the motorized scooters, according to a Consumer Reports check of hospital records. However, that number may be much, much higher, as many hospitals and cities aren’t keeping track of scooter injuries.
One major hospital in Atlanta, Grady Memorial Hospital, estimated that its Emergency Department has treated about 360 scooter-related injuries. Vanderbilt Hospital in Tennessee reports that it has seen 250 people with scooter injuries.
Few jurisdictions require a helmet and the scooters do not come equipped with them, leaving many riders to go without. Since the vehicles can reach speeds of up to 15 mph, this can result in serious head injuries in a crash.
Some cities have gone so far as to enact a motor scooter ban, like Beverly Hills. The ban is currently being litigated by Bird to have the law overturned.
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