Many cities including the metro Atlanta region have seen a boom in the number of e – scooter riders, but limits on the operations of these vehicles mean that many of these riders choose to ride on sidewalks, increasing their risks of being involved in pedestrian accidents.
Around the country, there has been an increase in the number of e – scooter riders, and cities have welcomed the expansion of this community because that reduces the stress on motor vehicle traffic, especially in congested cities like Atlanta. However, many cities have restricted the roads that these vehicles can be operated on. This means riders often choose to ride on sidewalks, placing them in direct conflict with pedestrians, and increasing their chances of being involved in pedestrian accidents. In fact, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there has been an increase in the number of e – scooter personal injuries and accidents involving pedestrians.
In most cities, the laws allow persons to ride e- scooters on roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. That restricts the operation of ride vehicles to bike lanes and bike paths. In areas where it is not possible to ride on bike lanes, e – scooter riders prefer to ride on sidewalks. This may be safe for the scooter rider, but involves increased risks for pedestrians, especially when the e-scooter is being operated at high speeds. Most riders do tend to lower their speeds when they are riding on sidewalks as compared to riding in a bicycle lane. Even so, the potential risk of personal injuries to pedestrians is very real. Some cities have placed greater speed restrictions on privately operated scooters that are being operated on sidewalks in order to reduce the risk of personal injuries to pedestrians in accidents with the scooters. Other cities are even considering a complete ban on e – scooters on sidewalks.