Hit-and-Runs: New examine reveals why most deadly e-Scooter crashes contain automobile collisions
About 30 folks in the US have been killed using electrical scooters since 2018. Most of them, 80% of the fatalities, had been hit by drivers of automobiles.
Publicly out there e-scooters arrived to U.S. cities in 2017 as an energy-efficient and enjoyable new technique to get round city. By 2019, e-scooter rides had soared from zero to 88 million journeys yearly. However placing e-scooter riders on the identical roads as automobiles with out good infrastructure or clear guidelines has been harmful. Making streets safer would require city policymakers, to not point out drivers, to know the place and why automobiles collide with these new automobiles.
The few empirical research on e-scooter security come from emergency departments in cities the place e-scooters launched early, like Los Angeles and Austin. They meticulously describe which accidents occurred and which bones had been damaged in crashes – primarily wrists and minor head accidents – and doc the situation on the physique of different accidents, like scrapes and sprains.
However they don’t present perception about how and why these accidents occurred. My “micromobility” analysis crew, which research light-weight and low-speed automobiles like e-bikes and e-scooters, has now performed an in-depth examine on e-scooter visitors security, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Our findings, revealed in April 2021 within the Journal of Security Analysis, discovered that e-scooter crashes with automobiles observe completely different patterns than bicycle crashes – however each outcome from unsafe infrastructure for non-motorized automobiles.
The place e-scooters and automobiles collide
Security has been a persistent barrier for cities in encouraging residents to undertake greener, various modes of transportation. Nationally, two-thirds of the greater than 1,000 bicycle fatalities in 2018 occurred when riders had been struck by a automobile driver.
To higher perceive how e-scooter collisions with automobiles examine, we scoured Nashville police experiences of crashes between 2018 and 2020. E-scooters launched in Nashville in 2018. In complete, we recognized 52 documented e-scooter crashes and 79 bicycle crashes, with one scooter rider fatality and no bicyclist fatalities.
About 80% of each bike and e-scooter crashes occurred at intersections, and about 70% occurred in daylight. That was considerably stunning. An influential 2019 examine on e-scooter security in Austin, Texas recognized nighttime using as riskiest. As an alternative, our examine factors to using on the sidewalk as the primary threat on e-scooters.
Regardless of native guidelines prohibiting scooter-riding on sidewalks, greater than 60% of crashes between automobiles and scooters occurred when a sidewalk scooter rider and driver collided at both a driveway or crosswalk. The scooter was nearly at all times coming from the automobile’s proper, the place drivers probably aren’t anticipating shifting automobiles to come back off the sidewalk and into visitors.
Nashville cyclists largely experience on the highway, in order that they crash at driveways and crosswalks about as half as usually. They’re much extra prone to be hit from behind, or when both the driving force or bike rider turns throughout the opposite’s path on the roadway. This discovering aligns with different research on bicycle-car crash patterns.
E-scooter and bicyclist crashes with automobiles aren’t as completely different as they could appear. They each replicate a scarcity of infrastructure designed for individuals who select alternate modes of transportation. In lots of cities, bicycle lanes finish or zigzag immediately throughout the highway. Intersections go away riders stranded in a harmful swarm of shifting automobiles.
Related bike strains mixed with protected intersections that give riders – notably novices – intuitive methods to cross and switch would make streets safer. Merely limiting right-turn-on-red additionally reduces collisions between drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, research present. E-scooter parking is an issue, too.
At present, scooter-share corporations like Lime require scooters to be parked on sidewalks, putting riders onto the sidewalk in the beginning and finish of every journey. Offering on-street parking can induce grownup riders of powered e-scooters onto the road, the place they belong.
However solely higher infrastructure will hold them there. Up to now, in Nashville as in different cities, the primary ways made to maintain scooter riders off sidewalks are academic campaigns, in-app messages and sidewalk decals. Clearly, that’s not working – and it’s resulting in crashes.
Alcohol just isn’t a significant component in e-scooter crashes in Nashville. Solely two of Nashville’s 52 scooter riders concerned in crashes had been reported as intoxicated. Drunk cyclists had been equally uncommon. This discovering contradicts early information from San Diego and Austin pointing to alcohol as a consider e-scooter crashes.
Drunk drivers didn’t appear to be a significant explanation for car-scooter and car-bike collisions in Nashville, both. That stated, we all know the intoxication degree of solely the drivers who caught round to talk with police. Of 104 Nashville drivers concerned in e-scooter or bike crashes, 27 of them fled the scene.