Surveys of scooter riders show many of them are concerned by safety issues including a lack of bike lanes and potholes. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Safety is where the rubber hits the road

By Michael Keating

For the first time in a century, cities have an opportunity to make transportation faster, more affordable, efficient, and fun for everyone. This is because urbanites have realized that in our crowded cities, a small, shared, electric vehicle is a better choice for getting around than a big,

polluting car that is also a danger to others on the street. People have started to call this smart new way of getting around “micro mobility.”

As micro mobility is growing bigger, cities are being reminded of just how much their streets have been designed around cars rather than pedestrians, cyclists, or scooter riders. With so many more people now wanting to move through the city on two wheels, the question of how our streets can best accommodate them alongside 3,000+ pound freeway vehicles, trucks, and buses is becoming more urgent.

When we survey Scoot’s riders and ask what is their biggest safety concern when using our shared electric Kick scooters and Moto scooters, their number one concern (shared by a full 90 percent of our riders) isn’t the heavy, fast cars on the road next to them, it is the roads themselves — specifically the lack of bike lanes and hazards like potholes.

The experts agree. On September 5th, Scoot, and our parent company, Bird, convened the second in a series of safety workshops with medical, safety, and public health experts and officials. While the topics covered included helmets, vehicle design, and the need for better data to inform policy making, the number one concern at the workshop was the same concern our riders have: how streets need to be redesigned to keep scooter riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe. There was much discussion of how to make the necessary changes quickly since these ways of getting around are rapidly growing in popularity and have the potential to positively impact our communities.

Even if you aren’t a scooter, bike, or moped rider yourself, you are certainly a pedestrian and you need safer streets, too. One way you can improve street safety for all road users today is to support the new protected bike lanes proposed for 5th Street in SoMa, as well as Mayor Breed’s ongoing Vision Zero initiatives. Both of these initiatives are moving forward with the urgency you would hope for. We should support our city officials when they act decisively to save lives and make our city more livable.

Scoot, and our tens of thousands of San Francisco riders, are behind these efforts 100 percent. We hope you will get behind them too.

Michael Keating is the Founder and President of Scoot, the world’s first electric mobility app, founded in San Francisco in 2011.

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