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Atlanta City Council moves forward with ordinance to obtain scooter injury data

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Info could enable the city to assess potential risks to public safety

Bird, the first shareable scooter arrivals in Atlanta.
picture alliance via Getty Image

Rider beware: Scooting about town could be dangerous to your health.

In fact, the Atlanta City Council wants to know just how dangerous. As reported last month, the city council proposed an ordinance requesting scooter-related injury data from area hospitals, urgent care facilities, and healthcare institutions.

On Monday, that ordinance received unanimous approval.

Since May, Grady Memorial Hospital alone has treated hundreds of scooter-related wounds. That number could easily double or triple with additional treatment facilities reporting in to the city council.

First introduced by council member Dustin Hillis, who represents District 9 and chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee, and drafted by Council President Felicia Moore, the ordinance states all reports should include the number and type of incidents, including if the incident was a fatality.

The goal of the data request is to aid the council in determining the health and safety risks to the public of using a shareable scooter. Of course, that’s all dependent on whether all healthcare facilities comply with the council’s request.

Analyzing scooter-related injury data could help the city keep riders safe.

Another potential issue: having the data may not clearly delineate the cause of each individual injury.

Although many injuries may be chalked up to users’ blatant disregard of the council’s existing legislation on how shareable scooters are operated within city limits, including laws that mandate riders stay off sidewalks, there are increasing cases where users may not be at fault.

This is not a problem Atlanta alone faces.

In Los Angeles, a sharable-scooter pioneer, nearly 250 riders landed in emergency rooms with injuries last year alone, per a city study. Ninety-five percent of them weren’t wearing helmets, and among numerous injuries—dislocations, bone fractures, lung contusions, soft-tissue injuries—five patients were reported to have bleeding within their skulls.

And in Austin, which welcomed dockless bikes and scooters last year like Atlanta, the city is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study shareable scooter-related injuries and incidents, the results of which could have nationwide impact.