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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette VeoRide's Ben Thomas demonstrated the e-scooter at Headwaters Park ahead of the vehicles' debut in the city.

Saturday, September 21, 2019 1:00 am

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Scooters' intro smooth, but caution can help prevent bumpy ride ahead

Two weeks into their rollout in Fort Wayne, e-scooters seem to be a popular addition to downtown's new amenities. But a year's worth of scooter experience in Indianapolis would suggest the route ahead won't be entirely smooth.

A recently filed lawsuit alleges a scooter caused an Indianapolis woman life-threatening injuries this summer after it suddenly accelerated and she was thrown forward onto the pavement. Paula Speer, the plaintiff, has sued Lime, the company operating the scooter service, as well as Segway and Ninebot, the companies that design and manufacture the scooters.

The Indianapolis Star late last year reported spikes in emergency room visits as a result of scooter injuries.

“I can definitely tell you that electric scooter injuries are on the rise,” Dr. Tyler Stepsis, medical director for the Eskenazi Health emergency department, told the Star in November. “We're seeing more and more minor injuries and major injuries.”

Last September, a person driving a Bird electric scooter in downtown Indianapolis was injured when he was struck by a car pulling out of a garage. The victim suffered a minor head injury, police said.

Capt. Scott Berning, who is monitoring the local VeoRide program for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said Friday there have been no serious problems so far.

“We've had some people calling 311 to report scooters improperly parked, and someone called this morning to ask if they are allowed on the streets – and they are – but we've had no accidents,” he said.

The Star reported Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services transported 113 patients for scooter-related injuries between last September and May. There also were reports of downtown businesses complaining about the scooters left on sidewalks outside their businesses and some of thevehicles being tossed in the city's downtown canal.

In Fort Wayne, Berning said the parking issue is the one he wants to emphasize.

“Just make sure they are parked properly. Don't obstruct pedestrian paths and buildings,” he said. “Other than that, just use caution. You still have to obey traffic laws when you are on a scooter.”