AUSTIN — The number of rides people take on scooters in Austin is growing and growing, as are concerns by some pedestrians about sidewalk safety.
At a meeting Thursday afternoon, members of the City's Mobility Committee presented the city council with information regarding ridership and safety, among other topics.
Here are a few takeaways from the meeting:
- Since the beginning of April, people have taken more than 1.2 million rides on scooters
- Right now, you can find nearly 3,800 scooters throughout Austin
- Between May and September, there were only 37 or so scooter-related accidents, a rate of three crashes every two weeks
With all these scooters on city roads and sidewalks, the city council and the Austin Transportation Department are taking steps to address rider and pedestrian safety, like its scooter safety outreach program.
But the city needs to do more to protect pedestrians, resident JoAnn Furner told KVUE. She said scooter riders almost ran her over near the Congress Avenue bridge last weekend. When she spoke up to them, she said they weren't very understanding.
"I'm like, 'Do y'all not understand that disabled people use the sidewalk?' And they all, again, [said] 'You're not disabled. What's it to you?' Screaming, yelling. I was yelling back by that time. I was so distressed and agitated," Furner said.
Doctors removed a tumor from Furner's brain last November, and she sometimes struggles with keeping her balance since then.
"Walking is my physical therapy. That's what makes me better. But if I'm walking and this stuff happens, I lose all of it," she said.
According to the City's current rules, scooter riders cannot go faster than 20 mph. It wants to lower that speed to 15 mph in a new set of proposed rules it hopes to adopt in November. Riders are also supposed to yield to pedestrians.
"What does yield mean if you're going 15 miles per hour and cutting people off and refusing to get out of their way? There is no yield," Furner said.
She believes that's still too fast to ride on a sidewalk, and she hopes the City does something about it.
If you'd like to give the City some feedback about its proposed rules, visit the city's Dockless Mobility website.