Whether in North Carolina or other locations, electric scooters offer increased mobility for many people seeking transportation. The scooters, though, carry some risk, as they travel at speeds of 15 to 20 mph, fast enough to result in injuries.
A look at the risks and rewards of scooters reveals a transportation option that needs some additional thought.
Sidewalk or Road?
A discussion by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety considered the best places to ride scooters. Some interested parties believe scooters belong on sidewalks, while others think they belong on the roads. The IIHS interviewed more than 100 e-scooter riders injured in accidents and then compared these injuries with those of bicycle riders. General information supported these findings:
- Scooter riders suffered more injuries per mile than bicyclists
- Bicyclists suffered more accidents with vehicles
- Scooter riders received more injuries from hitting potholes or pavement cracks
Most scooter riders get injured while riding on a sidewalk. In some cases, the injury happened while on a sidewalk closed to scooters.
Bike lane or sidewalk?
Some information suggests scooter operators prefer riding in bike lanes. This puts them out of the pathway of pedestrians. While some municipalities seek to encourage sidewalk use for e-scooters, other towns such as Denver and San Antonio prohibit the use of scooters in many locations.
The expanding popularity of scooters could make sidewalk riding less tenable. In 2019, scooters accounted for 86 million trips. Other pertinent factors include the fact that scooter operators suffered more severe injuries when on roads.
The discussion will likely continue in the coming years. In the meantime, scooter riders should practice the best habits for safety on each trip.