Nik Chupkin | The Roundtable
San Francisco was one of the first major cities to allow e-scooters on its streets, but as injuries grow more common, people worry about their safety while riding.
The e-scooter is a convenient way to travel small distances without paying for rideshare or waiting for municipal transit. All San Francisco based e-scooter companies have mobile apps for users, making scooters easily accessible to teens.
The accessibility is great for consumers but creates a problem with underage teens who may have limited knowledge of traffic laws riding scooters.
Scoot, a popular e-scooter service in San Francisco, states in its Terms and Conditions that its services are “not intended for individuals under the age of 18” and has riders check a box acknowledging they are legal adults, despite California motor laws stating that scooter operators only need a driver license, which can be obtained at age 16.
In response to underage teenagers being able to easily check that box, some companies added another step requiring users to scan their driver license when creating an account. However, teens can take many shortcuts to bypass the verification system.
Teenagers have bypassed the license scan by using false identification and “Siblings’ or parents’ licenses,” according to The Verge.
Uninformed and unlicensed teens who drive motorized scooters on busy roads not only endanger themselves but also the drivers and pedestrians around them.
No one is born with the knowledge of traffic laws and general road safety. People learn that through drivers education and experience on the road.
Most people’s brains develop up until their twenties, so any form of brain trauma can create long-lasting health issues. The last thing anyone wants is a teen illegally riding a scooter permanently injuring himself in a crash.
Another way riders can stay safe on scooters is by wearing helmets, but teens are unlikely to carry a helmet around every day. A helmet is ideal when riding on any motorized machine.
Scoot’s moped-style vehicles already come with helmets, so scooter companies should not have a problem with providing helmets for scooters. Sharing helmets, however, can be unsanitary, so riders should keep cloths that go over their heads in their bags or pockets so that they can more safely use shared helmets.
In order to keep riders safe, scooter companies need to include helmets not just with their moped-style vehicles, but also with their e-scooters. Teens should also do their part in ensuring rider safety and refrain from attempting to bypass companies’ verification systems. If they do decide to ride, they should be licensed and aware of the danger an accident poses.