Risky Ride: Safety concerns regarding electric scooters in South Florida on the rise

(WSVN) - It may be a fun way to get around but could this be one risky ride? If you’ve been in downtown Miami or Fort Lauderdale, chances are you’ve noticed all the electric scooters that are for rent. They’re part of pilot programs designed to ease traffic congestion, but concerns about the safety are on the rise. 7’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.

They can be a fast and fun way to get around, and many who use electric scooters love them.

Geo Hernandez, scooter fan: “It’s a lot faster to get places. You’re not obviously stuck in traffic or anything like that. It’s much more simple, and it’s a lot safer for the environment also, too.”

But riders, beware — scooter accidents can be brutal.

This dashcam video shows an electric scooter weaving down Brickell Avenue. The driver zips through an intersection, a car hits him, and he goes flying. He brushes it off and walks away.

But, 55-year-old David Blattner wasn’t so lucky. Last December, he was riding an electric scooter in Fort Lauderdale when, he says, a pickup truck plowed into him.

David Blattner, scooter accident survivor: “I knew I was going to get hit. I heard the boom, and I felt the impact.”

He broke three bones and now has metal rods below his knee.

In Fort Lauderdale, there were 74 scooter accidents between December and April, including one death.

In Miami, 22 accidents have been reported since the program started nearly four months ago.

Dr. Jason Mansour: “I can’t say that I’ve seen one person with any protective equipment that was on the scooter. The more protective equipment the better.”

Even though severe accidents can happen on these scooters, they’re still incredibly popular. In Fort Lauderdale, the city estimates about 500 people hop on and hop off one every single day.

Dr. Jason Mansour: “Respect what you’re doing. It’s not a toy.”

Lime is just one of the scooter rental companies in South Florida. They tell 7News, “We have led safety initiatives across South Florida as part of our Respect the Ride campaign. When riders first sign up with Lime, an in-app tutorial explains safe riding…”

Still, some miss the message.

7News cameras saw adults riding tandem with children, and not one person was wearing protective gear.

Kevin Ozebek: “Why aren’t you wearing a helmet or any safety gear with this?”

Alexandra Mirabile, scooter rider: “I don’t have one with me.”

As for Blattner, he doesn’t want scooters banned but thinks more regulation is needed.

David Blattner: “I think that they go too fast. I think there’s too many on the street, and drivers need to be better educated to be watching for them because they’re hard to see.”

However, he’ll never hop on a scooter again.

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