E-SCOOTERS COULD BE coming to the Gate City, and I’ve been hoping to hop on this fad for some time now, but with reservations.
VeoRide, the company that launched the rentable and dockless bicycles you see across the city, was scheduled to sit down with the mayor and board of aldermen on Tuesday evening to discuss adding another form of personal urban transportation to our line-up.
What’s not to love, right?
An e-scooter is several steps above the old-fashioned manual kick scooter of years ago. My mom, Effie, told me she rode a little scooter as a Depression-era child growing up in Manchester with her two sisters. I recall riding scooters, too. It’s a wonderful bit of nostalgia that appeals to most people.
Scooters with a motor sound like a blast, and it would be easy to rent one just like you do with VeoRide bikes. If you’re 18 or older, you can download the free app, and sign up for an account with your phone number. Then, you’d be able to locate an e-scooter through the app and be on your way. Wheee!
It’s cheap and convenient, costing only $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute during the electric scooter ride.
Now, here’s a fly (or two) in the ointment. First, VeoRide states on their website about a study revealing that 50% of injured e-scooter riders believed that “surface conditions like a pothole or crack in the street contributed to their injuries.” Hmmm.
OK, Mayor Donchess, potholes and other issues have been plaguing our Gate City streets for months now. Hopefully, all those issues would have been remedied before these mini transporters hit the streets.
VeoRide claims it has designed a well-built scooter to accommodate an imperfect roadway. Its model features “10-inch wheels with a shock-absorbing vacuum core plus a front and rear suspension that prevents jolts to the rider.”
That’s good to know, but there’s more.
You don’t have to put on a helmet when hopping on either a VeoRide bicycle or e-scooter. And most people don’t, with fewer than 1 percent of riders wearing them. That’s when problems can arise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the first-ever study of electric scooter accidents. Data is being collected and showing that injuries are caused when “most of the time the rider may hit a bump in the road or they simply lose their balance.”
The Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department of Texas had requested the CDC study because of multiple emergency room visits resulting from these 15 mph personal modes of urban transportation.
Dr. Christopher Ziebell, emergency department medical director at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas, has been keeping a record of e-scooter injuries for a year now. And here are the frightening results — 19 head injuries, 38 orthopedic injuries and 13 facial injuries among 66 severe traumas.
“We have 11 doctor shifts a day, and most of the doctors tell me it’s hard to go a whole shift without seeing at least one scooter injury.”
Speedy scooters sound like tons of fun and offer an eco-friendly transportation option. So I’m all in, but I would still advise proceeding with caution.Nashua, maybe it’s time to hop on to the fad.