As Transportation Alternatives Boom, So Do Safety Concerns
New transportation alternatives are popping up in California on a seemingly weekly basis. Dockless electric scooter and bicycle rentals are now vying with bike sharing companies in several cities throughout the Golden State.
Ideal for the use of e-bikes and e-scooters for navigating crowded city streets may seem, safety and accident concerns have also surfaced. E-scooters, in particular, are coming under harsher scrutiny because renters have routinely been spotted speeding down sidewalks at up to 15 mph while weaving around pedestrians.
Recently, San Francisco and Santa Monica city officials issued cease and desist orders to e-scooter rental companies operating in their cities. Not only did they cite safety and the potential for accidents involving pedestrians and motorists alike, they also noted the pileup of abandoned e-scooters in both cities.
Because there is no return dock, e-scooter renters have been simply leaving their e-scooters, well– everywhere. Powerless e-scooters have been littering parks, walkways and even curb ramps, thus blocking needed sidewalk access for wheelchair users, seniors and people with baby carriages.
In Santa Monica, officials are working with the rental companies to reduce the chance of scooter and bicycle accidents and improve safety features, such as offering free helmets.
Given California’s weather and continued efforts to move towards clean energy transportation, the micro-mobility industry, as this transportation sector has been dubbed, is probably here to stay.
Whether this growth is managed with safety in mind or leads to more accidents remains to be seen.