Austin Scooter Accident
Electric scooters attempt to provide a transportation answer to travel “the last mile.” But since the scooters arrived in early 2018, a lack of regulation, potholes, scooter malfunctions, and unsafe riding practices have sent Austinites to the emergency room.
It is our hope that by educating the public about potential scooter hazards, our community can make an informed decision to use an electric scooter on their next trip. The risk of injury on scooters is already well known. We hope that with more public knowledge and regulation, the high rate of injury can be reduced.
The final Saturday of SXSW police officers could be seen on 6th street confiscating electric scooters from riders as they made their way into a no-motorized-vehicle area.
The pile of scooters was captured and shared by Instagram user @mooseheadfeed and republished by @drafthouseAustin saying “These SXSW art installations are so edgy.”
As scooters have become a nuisance to many of the public, the photo received praise. Whether driving or walking, scooter riders often don’t follow the rules set out by the city.
Austin 311 Says Scooter Calls Make Up Small Portion of Service
Austinites calling into 311 with scooter requests causes alarm for Austin officials whose work is to ensure safety in the city.
The Austin American Statesman reviewed more than 1,400 reports involving electric scooters. Outside of complaints involving the scooters on their property, residents of the city have had serious concerns about the safety of the vehicles including concerns such as:
- Blocking sidewalks and ramps
- Going too fast around small children and pregnant women
- Scooters violating the city’s parks and trails
- A scooter in a tree
- Scooters riding up to 20 mph on sidewalks downtown near pedestrians
But data shows that the complaints, nearly 2,000 of them (between May 2018 and Feb 2019,) are only a small percentage of the of the city’s 311 reports. The service can be used for service (such as reporting potholes, complaints, questions and general feedback. Scooter complaints made 33rd most popular report in the last 10 months. Other more popular issues included missed garbage, loose dogs, and street light issues.
However, it is important to note that only 597 reports were made about dockless bicycles during that time. Clearly, an issue in understanding regulations occurs between users and those who call in to make complaints.
Brake Problems in Lime Electric Scooters Are Causing Accidents and Injuries, Report Finds
A new report released details that Lime, one of the largest e-scooter companies, has a systematic problem of sudden braking in their fleet of scooters across the country. The company announced February 27, 2019 that they detected a bug in the firmware of their scooters that could cause the riders to stop suddenly and unexpectedly.
The company stated that it was working to issue a series of updates for the firmware which it sayas “immediately results in a material reduction of occurrences.” However they continue to say that riders should exercise caution when using the devices until a final update is released.
They have instructed riders to test the brakes before riding the vehicle. They advice riders to determine whether a scooter is in good riding condition by giving the brake a “tight squeeze.” If the brake does not engage properly, riders are asked to dismount, end the trip, and notify Lime customer service.
Just last month, Consumer Reports released results from an investigation which found that 1,500 people have been injured as a result of e-scooter crashes.
Electric Scooter startup, Lime, began offering services in Austin in 2017.
1,500 People Injured on E-Scooters, Says Consumer Reports
An investigation found that 1,500 were hospitalized with e-scooter injuries across the country. February 5, 2019 Consumer Reports released a finding that at least 1,500 were treated in hospital from injuries from rides on different E-Scooter services.
For the report, 110 hospitals and five agencies in 47 cities were contacted. The cities chosen were those where at least one of the two biggest scooter companies, Bird or Lime, operates.
However holes in the data were found when Consumer Reports was doing the report – some hospitals still don’t track scooter injuries.
Some of the injuries could account for the entrance of scooter injuries into cities before there was time for regulation or proper safety procedures had time to be set in place.
In Austin the ride-share fleets arrived abruptly, creating public clutter and safety hazards.
The CDC has conducted a unique study of e-scooter injury in Austin. Officials expect to have the results of the study sometime this Spring.
February 6, 2019 | Texas Senate Bill 549 Filed by Royce West
A bill filed in the Texas Senate could potentially shake up the stand-up scooter world by placing restrictions on scooter riders and providers. See more about the bill inside McMinn Law Firm’s guide to scooter laws in Austin, TX and beyond.
Mark Sands Dies in First Fatal Scooter Accident in Austin
On February 1, 2019 an Irish exchange student died in a stand-up scooter vs. auto crash in downtown Austin. Mark Sands was 21 years old at the time. The story of his death made news all around the country as it was one of five known scooter fatalities in the United States at the time.
When the crash happened, Sands was heading north in the southbound lane of Interstate 35 frontage road at around 12:52 a.m. on a Friday. An Uber driver in a 2006 silver Volkswagen Jetta changed into the left lane to get on the Southbound I-35 entrance ramp. Sands was riding his scooter traveling north on the southbound left lane. The collision happened around East Sixth Street.
Sands was transported to Dell Seton Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. the following day.
Sands was a member of Texas Iron SPikes, a spirit and service organization at the university.
This was the first fatal scooter accident in Austin.
New Data Revealed Among New Rules in Austin for Dockless Scooters
Jan 18 2019
In an effort to increase transparency, the Austin Transportation Department released a collection of dockless scooter data. The report shows data from three portals that track vehicle trips, where those trips occur within the city, as well as self-reported data from the dockless scooter industry.
With the growing popularity of the devices, the city’s transportation department hopes that this snapshot of information will allow Austin’s open-data community to contribute to new city rules that make sense for riders, drivers, and pedestrians.
UT Baseball Shortstop David Hamilton Season Cut Short By Scooter Crash
UT Baseball lost a star player this 2019 season due to an e-scooter
injury. The Texas Longhorn’s shortstop, David Hamilton has to sit out the entire season due to an injury to the Achilles. The school described that Hamilton had what was called a “successful surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles” on Friday January 11.
Man Riding Scooter Dies when Dragged in D.C.’s Dupont Circle
September 21, 2018
According to reports, the scooter rider Carlos Sanchez-Martin, was dragged for over a dozen yards and pinned under the vehicle. The crash happened in Dupont Circle.
After the crash, all that was visible was the Lime scooter, a pair of headphones, and a single shoe. Firefighters had to extricate Sanchez-Martin from underneath the silver SUV.
The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene, and as of September 21, no charges were filed against the driver.
Carlos Sanchez-Martin was 20-years-old at the time of the crash.
Several days after the crash, bike riders and scooter riders in D.C. organized a memorial ride to honor Sanchez-Martin. The ride was part of initiatives led by Vision Zero activists in D.C.
Bird Announced Electric Scooter Service in Austin
April 25, 2018
Another company entered the city of Austin with their answer to the “last mile” of trips. Bird started offering scooter services in Austin in April of 2018 joining a handful of other scooter companies already in the city.