Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Scooter danger: Here we go again

City Lab

Front page story in this morning's SF Chronicle: Injuries are the untold part of the scooter trend, doctors and victims say:

Injuries are the part of the electric scooter story that hasn’t yet been fully told. No one has an official count, but doctors in many cities are sharing anecdotes about people being sideswiped, brakes failing and riders colliding with cars or hitting pedestrians when they illegally scoot on sidewalks...

The accident trend emerged almost as soon as the motorized scooters dropped onto city streets this spring, said Christopher Colwell, chief of emergency medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. Riders have come in with wounds ranging from broken wrists to potentially fatal cranial bleeding after smashups with cars, he said. Working the night shift on a recent Friday, Colwell saw three injured e-scooter riders. Two had concussions. None had worn a helmet...

Here we go again! I've done hundreds of posts on cycling and safety. The first was way back in 2005, even before the city's foiled attempt to sneak the Bicycle Plan through the process without any environmental review. It was clear even then that the city and the Bicycle Coalition were both overselling bikes and downplaying the dangers involved.

Are we now going to go through the same process with the scooter fad? Will a San Francisco Scooter Coalition form to represent this new special interest group, or will the Bicycle Coalition and Walk SF embrace them in a new organization, The San Francisco Anti-Car Coalition?

Streetsblog is already doing its part in downplaying the issue of scooter injuries: Media magnifies e-scooter hysteria (SF Chronicle).

The doctors at UCSF are now doing a study on scooter injuries in the city. Are we going to go through the same local media policy on scooters that ignored the UC study on the city's failure to count cycling accidents? 

Will the city pretend with scooters, like with cycling accidents, that "improvements" to city streets ("infrastructure") and Vision Zero rhetoric will be an adequate response? 

One important part of an adequate response would be creating a Collision Investigation Squad like New York City has to do an in-depth analysis of every injury accident on city streets to determine why it happened and what the city can do to reduce the chances of it happening again.

The city surely has enough manpower to do that, since the SFMTA has 6,387 employees Public Health has 8,340 employees, and the Police Department has 3,190 employees.

Wearing a helmet has always been controversial among cyclists in San Francisco: see The bicycle helmet debate.

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The tide is going out

Warren Buffett

“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”


Thanks to Vice.