It’s chilling seeing a young man riding an electric scooter on a main street with only flip-flops and a pair of shorts. You can’t help wonder how long. … You know what I mean — how long until the first fatality. And then it happened. I got home and heard about a 24-year-young man who passed away after falling off one.
And now make way for laws and politicians.
Should Electric Scooter Riders Wear Helmets?
In an ideal world, everyone wears helmets, pays attention, and shares the road. But seeing how most jump on electric scooters (e-scooters) without protection, I can see that is asking for trouble. The saying is as corny as it sounds: It takes an accident to finally do something about it.
The e-scooter craze can be found on almost every street corner today in California. Shared e-scooters systems are also popping up in trials around US cities and globally. The reception has been half and half. Case in point: my two- and four-wheel riding friend wanted to ride one. As he was about to finalize the transaction on the app, a stranger came along, bent down, snapped a cable, and started to walk off. My friend asked why he did that. The person answered calmly that he hated these things everywhere trashing the neighborhood.
Back to the unfortunate news, which was all over the place by the evening. The Washington Post wrote: “A 24-year-old Dallas man who died after falling off a Lime electric scooter was killed by blunt force injuries to his head, county officials said Thursday, likely making him the first person to die in an accident involving the electric mobility devices that have swept across the nation this year.”
Jacoby Stoneking was riding a Lime scooter home from work. The shock of the impact was so violent the e-scooter was broken in half. He was found several hundred yards from it and was not wearing a helmet. This comes on the heels of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s infamous no-helmet law for adults riding electric scooters. This bill grants scooter riders such freedom on streets up to 35 mph, 10 mph more than previously.
Doling out responsibility is difficult and often serves no purpose other than guilt, but I think this case is a reminder that anyone stepping on a mobility device has to take care of basic survival instincts. Forcing e-scooter prodcuers to post danger signs and stickers everywhere won’t help Jacoby’s death, nor the incidents about to happen. Perhaps education campaigns with advertising showing a few accidents and morgues would help.
Until the accident, Lime, Bird, and Skip lauded the governor’s no-helmet bill. After the accident, Lime pledged an investigation into Stoneking’s death, but said it found no evidence of scooter malfunction.
Where Reason, Civic Duty, & Responsibilities Blurr Lines
It’s tough seeing when a nice party comes to an abrupt end, especially when the depressing aftermath could be prevented with common sense on all parts. This accident and the ones to follow only invite politicians to step in.
One thing is for certain — as our new electric mobility world unfolds, we need to plan, talk, engage communities to help create the best local electric mobility systems possible. Should e-scooter companies put on big stickers reminding us to wear helmets? They don’t know, but soon could be forced to. In the end, I ride anything two/three wheels with a helmet no matter what.