When Bird Rides, a scooter rental service that operates by randomly dropping clusters of e-scooters on the streets of unsuspecting cities without asking for permission, arrived in Cleveland in early August, the city quickly banished the company from its streets. Overnight, dockless scooters became a surrogate issue, representing the rift between the city’s stagnant leadership and residents’ desire for modernity.
Team scooter seemed to be winning public support until Aug. 20, a week after Bird’s arrival, when a driver who had allegedly snorted heroin struck and killed a 21-year-old woman on an e-scooter. Bird quickly pulled its fleet and entered “good-faith negotiations” with the city of Cleveland to determine a two-wheeled path forward. Meanwhile, most of the conversation focused on the scooters rather than our obsession with cars, the city’s lack of bike infrastructure or the ever-growing heroin epidemic.
Cleveland is not the only city trying to determine how to handle scooters as not just a kid’s toy but a legitimate mode of transportation. On Monday, the operator of a Bird scooter in Cincinnati injured a pedestrian in a hit-skip collision, and other injuries have been documented in Indianapolis, San Diego and Tennessee.
But are the concerns surrounding e-scooters real or a bunch of feather dusting? In San Francisco, where a cease and desist halted scooter traffic, trauma specialists and medical researchers convened for a scooter safety conference in June to determine how to confront and document the rash of scooter injuries.
So, while the electronic scooters don’t fit the definition of a motorcycle, moped, bike, skateboard or motor vehicle, here are some statistics behind other potentially fatal things we encounter every day.
Underlying Causes of Death in 2016 (Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention):
- Motor vehicles: 40,000
- Mopeds and motorcycles: 4,861
- Falling out of bed: 969
- Lawn mowers: 100
- Fireworks: 4
- Slipping, tripping and stumbling: 770
- Falls involving ice skates, skis, roller-skates or skateboards: 61
- Dogs: 31
- Drowning in the bath tub: 525
- Contact with hornets, wasps and bees: 76
- Constipation: 189