Rider Safety Tips for Bikes and Scooters

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Grace Wyner

Institute Communications

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Know the rules for when you ride.

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Know the rules for when you ride.

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Rentable electric scooters first appeared in Atlanta in May of 2018; now, an estimated 10,000 are available throughout the city, and more companies continue to arrive.

Cities and universities across the country are grappling with how to regulate electric scooters and bicycles, but a January ordinance passed by the Atlanta City Council laid the framework for these vehicles to remain in the city. The ordinance regulating “Shareable Dockless Mobility Devices” requires that riders use bike lanes or ride on the street in the right-most lane vs riding on the sidewalk. The ordinance also strongly recommends that riders wear helmets and requires them for people under the age of 16.

Fans of the scooters disagree with the ordinance, stating that they feel unsafe on the road, but 80% of scooter-related injuries result from falls versus collisions, the odds of which are increased by riding on the sidewalk, due to the inferior quality of the riding surface and a greater number of obstacles. Either way, the greatest risk to riders comes from choosing not to wear a helmet.

A 2019 study of people treated in Los Angeles-area emergency rooms for electric scooter-related crashes found that 40% of the patients were treated for head injuries, but only 4% had been wearing helmets. According to Dr. Benjamin Holton, Senior Director of Georgia Tech’s Stamps Health Services, there have also been a disproportionate number of scooter-related injuries on campus, including serious injuries to the head and face. Helmet use has been associated with reducing the odds of these injuries 69% and 33%, respectively.

The City of Atlanta ordinance also addresses parking for electric scooters and bikes. On campus, they should be parked near bike racks and may not block access to doorways, ramps, or paths. Hazardous e-scooter or e-bike parking should be reported to Georgia Tech Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) at (404) 385-7275. If reporting one, please record the ID number or QR code to enable operators to identify the device.

In mid-June, the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) began a new campaign to educate riders on how the law applies to scooters and bicycles.

“Although Georgia Tech police will enforce all ordinance and codes, over the last year we have focused on helping people understand that these laws and regulations are vital for their safety and the safety of others,” said Georgia Tech Chief of Police Rob Connolly. “We have seen too many injuries resulting from improper use of mobility devices.”

To continue advancing safer riding on campus, Bike Georgia Tech will also launch a safety campaign that encourages helmet use, compliance with traffic laws, and personal awareness. The first monthly rider safety class of the semester will occur on September 19 at 11 a.m. in the CRC, where free helmets are available for attendees. Helmets are always available for $12 at PTS.

It is also recommended that all students, faculty, and staff register their bicycles with GTPD. This way, GTPD can identify the bike and notify the owner in the event that it is stolen and later recovered. Those looking to rent a bike long-term can check out BuzzBikes; the application for fall 2019 rentals opens on August 19th. Starter Bikes helps members of the Georgia Tech community repair and maintain their bicycles and even sells used ones. To learn more about rider safety, resources, and active commuting, visit www.bike.gatech.edu.

Rider Safety Basics
  • Wear a helmet each time you ride.
  • Be predictable. Don’t swerve abruptly around items, look both ways when changing lanes, and know your hand signals.
  • Check devices before riding, especially the brakes.
  • Follow traffic laws.
  • Don’t ride with earbuds in. When all you have on the road is sight and hearing, you don’t want to eliminate one of them.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and others on the road. Make sure you’re traveling at an appropriate speed for the conditions you’re in.
  • If you’re biking uphill, persevere. Continually riding up hills increases stamina, and it’s better to shift your bike when starting up a hill instead of when you’re already pedaling hard.

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Campus and Community
Keywords
bike safety, electric scooters, GTPD, e-scooter, e-bike
Status
  • Created By: gwyner3
  • Workflow Status: Draft
  • Created On: Aug 9, 2019 - 2:55pm
  • Last Updated: Aug 19, 2019 - 1:45pm