• Seattle poised to allow electric scooters

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Seattle City Council Member Mike O'Brien had already planned an electric scooter demonstration for City Hall when Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her support for a scooter pilot project.

    "I'm excited that there seems to be a path going forward. I can tell you that as a City Council member I’m ready to do everything the council can to make this mobility option available to folks as soon as possible," he said.

    RELATED: Lime fighting back against Seattle’s resistance to scooters

    The mayor points to a recent survey noted 1,500 electric scooter injuries nationwide. And local doctors say head injuries are a risk because riders often don't wear helmets. “Only 4% were actually wearing helmets and most of these injuries and most of these injuries, 80 percent of the injuries were just simply falling off the scooter, said Dr. Fred Rivara of Harborview Medical Center.

    Asked if the city should require riders to wear helmets O’Brien responded, “That's a question we'll have to consider.” I don't think so.” 

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    ​O'Brien notes head injuries often happen in cars, where helmets are not required.

    Another issue: Clogging sidewalks as bike shares sometimes do, making navigation difficult for people in wheelchairs or the visually impaired using canes.

    “You see them in places they shouldn't be,” Darla Ames in downtown Seattle.

    “We should do scooters, we should do bike share, we shouldn’t ask the disabled community to deal with the consequences of that when they're mis-parked, said Anna Zivarts of Rooted in Rights, an advocacy group for the disabled.

    RELATED: Are scooters too dangerous for Seattle?

    O'Brien says the city could fine companies for obstruction.

    "If someone parks a bike in a way that’s going to inhibit someone's ability to move we should fine these companies. And they can choose how to manage, you know do they kick the person off, do they pass the fine on to them.”

    Electric scooters have proven so popular in Tacoma that Lime removed their bike shares from the street but Seattle wants companies to retain that choice, too.

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