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Atlanta City Council aims to beef up scooter regulations as injuries abound

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Grady Memorial Hospital has treated hundreds of scooter-related wounds

A picture of a woman riding a bird scooter down a city street.
Rules dictate that scooter patrons should use roads instead of sidewalks.
Atlanta City Council

A stroll down most major city streets presents a glaring reality: Atlantans, by and large, aren’t abiding by the new e-scooter rules laid out by their city council.

And while it may feel like the ubiquitous, rentable e-scooters have been here forever, they haven’t even been roaming Atlanta for an entire year yet.

Already, the Atlanta City Council is considering another piece of legislation that could reinforce the new regulations.

In January, the council okayed an ordinance that, in theory, bars people from parking scooters in public rights of way and cruising down sidewalks, among other restrictions. The legislation even imposed a $1,000 per day fine for scooter companies whose vehicles were illegally abandoned.

That apparently wasn’t enough.

a picture of e-scooters in a pile Contributed by Kristen Rogers

From Buckhead to Summerhill and beyond, the sleek electric cruisers—by Bird, Lime, Uber, and Lyft—are strewn across walkways, used to tear past pedestrians, and in some cases, just totally trashed.

This behavior has yielded a serious uptick in scooter-related injuries at local healthcare facilities like Grady Memorial Hospital. (Personal injury law firm John Foy & Associates claims that Grady alone has treated roughly 360 scooter-related injuries.)

This week, Atlanta City Councilmember Dustin Hillis introduced a resolution that would request scooter-related injury data reports from hospitals, urgent care facilities, and other healthcare institutions.

“As we gather this data, it will inform possible future legislative actions to further regulate the devices in the interest of public safety,” said Hillis, who’s also a critical care nurse, in a prepared statement.

If approved, the legislation would call for heathcare institutions to submit data regarding “the number of incidents within the designated timeframe, type of incident, injuries sustained, number of people involved and if the incident was a fatality” on a quarterly basis.

Such data from healthcare providers “would better position us to ensure that scooters are not just an innovative transportation solution, but a safe one as well,” said Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, who drafted the legislation, in a statement.

In effect, understanding the root of e-scooter accidents—driver or vehicle error—will help the council formulate new rules that seem to be imperative if the dockless vehicle model will continue to be a staple of Atlanta transportation.

Many e-scooter programs, including Uber’s Jump model, require users to sign an in-app waiver before taking off.

An Atlanta woman is currently suing Uber after being thrown off a scooter she claims had faulty brakes, according to CBS46.

Uber, however, doesn’t seem to acknowledge any fault in the accident, due to the waiver she signed.

Perhaps, once city councilmembers have a better grasp on what’s causing scooter-related injuries, new legislation could prevent such cases from occurring at all.