Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters, are becoming more and more popular in Georgia. Since they were first introduced in the U.S. in 2017, e-scooters went from zero rides a year to 88 million rides in 2019. However, this fun alternative to car travel can be dangerous.
E-scooter riders are at risk around cars
Since 2018, there have been around 30 people killed while riding e-scooters in the U.S. Eighty percent of these fatalities occurred after an e-scooter rider was struck by a car. That means that proximity to vehicles is the biggest safety hazard when riding an e-scooter. Just like a motorcycle or a bicycle, e-scooters don’t offer the same protection that a passenger vehicle does.
Infrastructure may be the problem
An April 2021 study published in the Journal of Safety Research found that lack of safe infrastructure is to blame for motor vehicle collisions involving e-scooters. Researchers say that this is the same problem that leads to bicycle accidents in cities that lack bike lanes and other bike safety infrastructure.
According to the study, 80% of collisions between e-scooters and cars or bicycles and cars happen at intersections. However, e-scooter collisions differed from bike collisions in that a lot of them happened on sidewalks. Even though most cities prohibit riding e-scooters on sidewalks, 60% of scooter-car collisions happened while an e-scooter rider was traveling on the sidewalk and then passed by a driveway or a crosswalk. In nearly all of these accidents, the e-scooter was to the right side of the car.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are pretty common with scooter-car collisions. In a survey of 104 scooter-car and bicycle-car collisions in Nashville, the car driver fled the scene of the crash in 27 cases. It is illegal for any driver to leave the scene of an accident that they are involved in. Drivers that hit e-scooter riders can also be sued for damages by the injured victims.