NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — If you’re driving through the streets of New York City, you’re not only sharing the roads with people walking and cycling but also a new form of transportation — electric scooters.
As more people ride, 7 On Your Side Investigates has found an increase in accidents and injuries, this as thousands of additional rental scooters will be rolled out in portions of the city soon.
Last week in Queens, the driver of an SUV struck a young man on an electric scooter and critically injured him.
The driver left the scene, and police are still investigating.
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Authorities say 680 people have been injured in scooter-related incidents in New York City so far this year, compared to 588 last year — a 16% increase.
In many cases, the injured person wasn’t the scooter rider, but a pedestrian.
See where the accidents are happening:
In portions of the city, you’re allowed to ride an e-scooter in bike lanes or on streets where the speed limit is 30 mph or less. But that’s not always happening.
For example, in Riverside Park, despite numerous signs stating e-scooters are not allowed, you’ll find numerous people riding them.
“Our goal is to not only focus on enforcement but also to educate,” DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said. “We want all users of any scooters to be sure that they are safe.”
Rodriguez would like to see more of them in use by residents and visitors, he said, along with more safety education and bike lanes.
“The consumers are responding,” he said. “The consumers are using the scooters, and they’re saying, ‘We want more.'”
In the Bronx, you don’t have to own your own scooter, you can rent one like a CitiBike.
It’s part of a pilot program that has been going on for a year now, and the city is now doubling the area in the Bronx where they can be used and doubling the amount of scooters available.
They’re calling the program a success so far, and three different ride sharing companies are operating the e-scooters.
The city plans to expand bike lanes to help promote safe riding, calling it a “greener” way to get around, especially in boroughs with limited public transit. Brooklyn could be next to get riding sharing electric scooters.
“That should be the goal,” Rodriguez said.
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But emergency room physicians also have a goal for anyone looking to ride an e-scooter.
“You absolutely should have on a helmet,” said Dr. Sarah Jamison, of St. Barnabas Hospital. “You must protect your head, because that’s where we see so much injury.”
Crashes involving mopeds have also increased by 27% so far this year, compared to last.
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