The rise of innovation and technology has produced some outstanding (and some not-so-outstanding) new inventions. One of these new inventions is electric scooter boards (e-scooters). Recently, companies have implemented rental electric scooter stations on college campuses and in busy cities. However, some people, such as this CNN article’s author Ford Vox, are against this new mode of transportation. Although an accessible and quick way to get around, electric scooters seem to put their users at an elevated risk for serious injuries.
Vox is a physician who focuses his work in rehabilitation medicine. He argues that these electric scooter boards are untested and highly dangerous for its’ users. He claims that new consumer technology follows the notion of “sell it first, ask questions later.” As a physician, Vox is witnessing the deleterious outcomes of this motto in the emergency room. Some people who are involved in an e-scooter accident suffer from “broken bones and road rash.” Especially for those who do not wear helmets, he finds an increasing amount of emergency room visits, specifically those coming in with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, from e-scooter users. Bird, a popular electric scooter company, asks its users to “be 18 or older, to wear a helmet, have a driver’s license, stay off the sidewalk, and refrain from double riding.” However, these suggestions are often ignored. To combat this, certain cities, such as San Diego, have begun distributing tickets for those who don’t wear helmets while riding e-scooters. In addition to the driver of the electric scooter being injured, innocent passersby are as well. James Curtis, a hospital volunteer, states that scooters commonly block sidewalks which can be dangerous for wheelchair users. For those walking across the street and others pushing strollers, e-scooters can pose a safety hazard.
Bird makes sure its customers understand their policies, especially regarding safety. When an individual decides to rent a Bird electric scooter, he or she is agreeing to “fully release, indemnify, and hold harmless the company for injury, death, property damage and other losses.” They also go on to say that medical expenses from accidents on a Bird may not be covered by your car insurance. This was the case as a woman from Los Angeles broke her arm in two places after a Bird accident and was unable to utilize her insurance to cover the costs. Even after her efforts, neither her medical nor car insurance would pay for her medical appointments and treatments. Hence, injuries and insurance seem to complicate these non-car modes of transportations.
However, there are benefits to electric scooters. In busy cities, electric scooters act as an easy and quick way to get around without a car. Many electric scooters are environmentally friendly as well. Hence, there are advantages of e-scooters too.