Electric bikes have already caused a pretty big stir in New York City and around the state. Now, electric scooters may soon be coming to the streets as well.
You may already spot a few here and there on city streets. However, their riders currently still face a stiff fine if they’re caught. Thanks to a law that forbids the motorized, two-wheeled vehicles, New York City is lagging behind other metropolitan areas — many of which have already seen a major influx of the scooters. Companies like Bird and Lime have reportedly dropped the inexpensive scooters — which are paid for and operated via a smartphone app — off on major city streets by the hundreds and thousands.
Some pedestrians and people who hate their current morning commute love the little electric scooters. Most motorists don’t feel the same way.
Pedestrians can pick the scooters up just about anywhere and drop them off the same way. Their size and speed allow pedestrians to quickly scoot through the congested traffic and sidewalks without much hindrance. The scooters are affordable, easy to use — and possibly deadly. While drivers are encouraged to wear helmets and other safety gear when operating an electric scooter, the individual who actually does that can be a rarity.
Riders are subject to some of the same dangers that plague ordinary pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders — with none of the constraints. They’re moving fast, competing with cars and trucks for space and offer their riders no real protection against injury when there’s a collision with some kind of vehicle.
The major officials hard to get permission to start operating — and they may soon get their way. Officials are conscious of how popular the scooters are elsewhere and do not want the city to seem out of touch.
For drivers, this means that there may soon be yet one more reason to pay close attention on the daily commute. Avoiding an accident may become much more difficult. There’s no room for distracted driving.
As always, anyone who is would be wise to discuss their legal options as soon as possible.