Boom In Electric Scooters Leads To More Injuries, Fatalities

Jun 7, 2019

Andrew Hardy was crossing the street on an electric scooter in downtown Los Angeles when a car struck him at 50 miles per hour and flung him 15 feet in the air before he smacked his head on the pavement and fell unconscious.

The 26-year-old snapped two bones in each leg, broke a thighbone, shattered a kneecap, punctured a lung and fractured three vertebrae in his neck, in addition to sustaining a head injury.

"My brother thought I was dead," said Hardy, who wasn't wearing a helmet.

A man rides a Lime rental bicycle in uptown Charlotte in late March. The company has phased out the rental bikes.
David Boraks / WFAE

It looks like electric scooters have beaten out dockless bicycles in the race for users on Charlotte's streets. Lime said Thursday it has phased out its green rental bicycles in Charlotte over the past several weeks to focus on scooters.  

Some people love electric scooters. Some people hate them. And some people charge them — for money.

By day, Joel Kirzner is a consultant in Arlington, Va. But when he wraps up work in the office, he pulls out his phone and checks multiple scooter apps to see what's available nearby.

If there are scooters low on battery, they'll show up in the map on his phone. And if he can find the scooter in real life (and beat any rival chargers to the punch), he'll earn a few bucks for each one he charges at home.

"It's like Pokémon Go and you make money," he says.

Scooters on North Tryon Street  uptown in December 2018.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte City Council members approved new rules for electric scooters Monday, but only after a long debate that several members say shows a need to revisit the rules later.

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks / WFAE

Since last May, three companies have put about 900 electric scooters on Charlotte streets.  In October 2018, users took more than 120,000 e-scooter rides. Now, city officials want to put regulations on the booming e-scooter industry.