Electric Scooters in Chicago: A Recipe for Disaster

Chicago recently began a pilot program allowing electric scooters on city streets. Within a mere six days, at least ten couple-4244576_1920-204x300people were sent to emergency rooms, including one bicyclist who was left unconscious and badly injured after being struck by a scooter.

The city’s e-scooter program launched June 15th on the west side of Chicago, bringing 2500 scooters to Chicago streets. Ten scooter companies—Bird, Lyme, Jump, Sherpa, Gruv, Lyft, Spin, Wheels, Bolt and VeoRide– are providing the scooters for the next few months. In October, the city will evaluate the program and decide whether to permit the scooters permanently and whether to expand into the lakefront area and the Loop, the city’s busiest traffic and pedestrian areas. I can just imagine the nightmare of inexperienced or potentially intoxicated riders zipping around on electric scooters in Chicago’s already chaotic Loop.

Chicago might do well to heed the experiences of other cities who have tried out e-scooter programs. Hospitals in these cities have noted frequent, serious scooter injuries, and police forces have admitted that enforcing the rules is difficult. Scooter riders often ride without helmets; endanger pedestrians by riding on sidewalks despite it being against city ordinances, and litter the streets with abandoned scooters.

Serious scooter accidents have surged in cities running pilot e-scooter programs. Recently, Nashville’s mayor finally had enough and banned scooters after a fatal accident involving an intoxicated scooter rider in that city. Paris is trying to deal with the problem by setting scooter limits at 12 mph in the wake of another deadly scooter accident. And just the other day, a popular YouTube star was killed in a scooter accident in London.

According to a recent CDC study of scooter accident data in Austin, Texas, arm, hand, wrist or shoulder injuries were the most common, affecting 70% of riders. Almost half of these injuries were severe, and 84% involved broken bones. The next most common injuries– involving 48% of riders–were head injuries, with 15% of accident victims showing signs of a traumatic brain injury. In the majority of these accidents, excessive speed was a major factor. Moreover, 1/3 of the scooter accidents occurred with first-time riders and another 30 percent involved riders with limited experience.

Unfortunately, despite their popularity, scooters can be extremely dangerous, especially when they are sharing already crowded roads with cars, bicycles, and pedestrians in urban areas. People are being injured and even killed on these devices. Why does Chicago want to join this craze, when it is obvious that inexperienced scooter riders do not belong on busy city streets?

If you have been injured by a scooter driver, our experienced accident attorneys can help you recover damages. Call 630-527-1595 for a FREE EVALUATION of your case.

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