Nashville has become one of the most recent cities to be introduced to the rentable electric scooter craze. These electric scooters have popped up everywhere. You locate them through an app on your phone and rent them directly through the app. They're designed to provide a clean mode of transportation for people in urban areas as well as reduce motor traffic.
These scooters are a helpful and affordable way to get around the city, however, they have already posed some safety concerns. After only a week of the scooters being available in Nashville, two women were hit by a car while riding the scooters through a crosswalk. If you are planning on zipping around the city on one of these scooters, here are some tips on doing it safely and responsibly.
Follow Traffic Laws
Following traffic laws helps keep you and pedestrians safe when riding these scooters. Whenever there is a designated bike lane available, electric scooter riders must use it and they must ride in a single file line.
As with bicycles, you need to obey all traffic signs and signals. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights and yielding to pedestrians, it is also recommended to verbally warn pedestrians when you are passing. Other motorists can't predict your actions, so following traffic laws will help keep you safe and prevent you from accidentally riding out in front of a vehicle or hitting a pedestrian.
Be Safe in High Traffic Areas
It may be tempting to zoom in and out of traffic on one of these scooters, but this is extremely dangerous. With electric scooters being a new form of transportation in Nashville, most drivers are not used to watching for them, especially when they're already keeping an eye out for golf carts, party busses, and beer bikes.
During high traffic times, try to avoid busy areas or use a street with a designated bike lane. Always be mindful of motorists and be cautious. It's always safer to assume drivers can't see you or don't expect you. Just because you're paying attention doesn't mean they are.
Always Wear Protective Gear
Currently, Nashville law requires riders to wear a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. Breaking this law means you can receive a $50 fine. Electric scooters can travel up to 15 miles per hour, which is the same speed as an average bicyclist. In a 2015 study, helmets.org reported that 97% of bicycle fatalities involved a rider that was not wearing a helmet. Protecting your head when traveling at this speed is very important, especially when there is a possibility of colliding with a motorist traveling at much higher speeds.
In an effort to make their scooters safer, some companies will even supply you with a free helmet. You can make a request for a helmet on their app and it will be delivered to you. It's always better to be safe than sorry and with a free helmet, there is no excuse not to wear one.
Park Your Scooter Responsibly
These scooters are dockless, which means you do not have to park them at a specific location. When you're done with your ride, you can park the scooter wherever you want. Some people have abused this by parking the scooters irresponsibly. Do not leave your scooter in the middle of a walkway, storefront, or in front of handicap ramps or accessible entrances. Park them out of the way of pedestrians and use the scooter's kick stand instead of laying them on the ground.
These scooters are still very new and laws and regulations may continue to change so make sure you stay up to date! These scooters have the potential to be a fun and helpful way to get around the city but it's important to be careful and responsible when operating them so that everyone stays safe.