Just because you’re riding around on two wheels with a motor boosting you to 12 mph doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention.
Just like distracted driving, distracted scooting is becoming a concern on the road. That’s why scooter-share company Bird says it joined AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign. Since 2010, the phone company has encouraged putting down the phone for texts, calls, and checking your email (and more), while driving. In 2018, the campaign includes all those behaviors — but on rentable e-scooters.
For confident scooter riders, the inclination to multitask while riding can be strong, as is the pull of the smartphone. The motorized devices may feel like a toy, but they’re considered a road vehicle, riding alongside cars, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and other scooters. At least you better be off the sidewalk and in the bike lane, or riding along the edge of the road.
PCI insurance group noted a recent study by Zendrive that found at least 69 million drivers in the U.S. use a phone while driving every day. What riders are willing to do behind the handlebars hasn’t been studied enough yet, but we can guess it’s just as pervasive a problem.
To promote safe scooting, Bird created a short video showing how that scooter selfie can result in a crash — or worse. The silent 7-second safety message is above.
Bird isn’t the only scooter company concerned about safe riding, or at least the liability of unsafe riding.
Last week their competitor Lime released its “Respect the Ride” safety campaign. The program includes a rider pledge, educational videos about safe scooter use and proper parking, and a $3 million commitment from the company toward public safety and education plans.
A Lime spokesperson said this week that 75,000 people had signed the pledge. That might’ve been prompted by the lure of free helmets for the first 25,000 who pledged to ride safely. Lime plans to distribute 250,000 free helmets in cities across the globe in the next six months. The pledge helmets were mailed to signees.
In the fight against distracted scooting, Lime has plans to include a personalized screen with your user profile and info about your previous trips and saved locations on its next generation scooter. Maybe that’ll stave off the urge to connect to a smartphone.
Lime last week also announced alongside e-scooter company Spin (which was just bought by Ford) an agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to study how the scooters are used. So more data will be shared with cities, starting with LA, and hopefully improve the streets for scooter users.
Distracted scooting comes up alongside drunken or impaired scooting, another e-scooter no-no. While distracted scooter riders can be harder for police and public safety officials to track down, intoxicated scooting can lead to real arrests and DUI records, like the 28-year-old who crashed into a pedestrian while three times over the legal limit on a Bird scooter in Los Angeles back in September.
Like this wine supplier points out, it’s important to learn what’s legal while on an e-scooter and not to drink and drive. The legal limit is the same as when driving a car. While you’re at it, put down the phone and just scoot.