Nashville wants scooters out until there is more oversight
Nashville mayor, David Briley, took to Twitter last Friday to announce he was submitting a recommendation to the City’s Metro Council to enact legislation that would immediately terminate its shared urban mobility device (SUMD) pilot program, effectively removing all ride-share electric scooters from the streets until further review and oversight of numbers, safety, and accessibility is completed.
As reported by the Tennessean, the crash that caused the injuries that led to the death of a 26 year old man in Nashville occurred on May 16, 2019. Three days later he was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. According to police, a witness reported seeing the man make an improper left turn after leaving the sidewalk and entering the roadway into the path of an SUV. A toxicology report stated that the man’s blood alcohol content was at 0.198% on the night the crash happened.
Electric Scooters aren’t generally allowed on sidewalks
These electric scooters are meant to be used within bicycle lanes and there was such a lane present in the area where the crash occurred. Riders are not permitted to operate the scooters on sidewalks in Nashville’s business district where this incident happened, according to local police. After the man’s death, his family posted a petition online calling for a ban on SUMD scooters in Nashville.
Regardless of how the crash occurred, drivers have a duty to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians, bicycles, and scooters. And, all people traveling on roads should use reasonable caution to avoid collisions. Electric scooters add an extra element to traffic that make the roads that much more congested. There were 8 companies participating in Nashville’s scooter-share pilot program. Chicago has 10 vendors supplying a combined total of 2,500 e-scooters. However, Chicago isn’t letting them go downtown yet, maybe not ever.
Is downtown the best place for e-scooters?
High traffic areas, like business districts and downtowns, may require more planning on the part of municipalities to make sure that these programs are introduced with safety in mind. Getting somewhere faster, cheaper, and easier sounds great, but that doesn’t matter if riders are more likely to get injured.
The question is, are scooters meant to be a replacement for other forms of urban transportation, or are they meant to be a go-between to allow people to travel from more residential areas to other forms of transit more quickly and cheaply? The go-between model seems to make more sense and that’s the approach Chicago is taking. Mary Wisniewski included a map in her Tribune article on the arrival of e-scooters in Chicago showing where the City will allow these devices to operate this summer. The neighborhoods, as opposed to the loop, may be a better fit for Chicago, which already has a lot of ride share vehicles taking people from place to place in addition to the busses and trains that already service passengers. People who need to get from their home to an L-stop may find a scooter more convenient than walking, hailing a cab, or ride-share. Yet, in these less congested areas, both scooter riders and automobile drivers need to keep a proper lookout for each other to avoid collisions as they share the road.
The bottom line is, no matter if you’re walking, biking, riding, or driving, it’s important to pay attention to other people on the roadway. That means keeping off cell phones and getting a ride from someone else if you’re tired or had too much to drink. And, with decriminalized marijuana coming to Illinois, fellow travelers need to add cannabis to the list of things not to combine with operating a vehicle. Safety should be foremost in everyone’s mind wherever they go.