The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently released its final report on its one-year scooter share pilot program.
As I wrote previously for SCC Insight when the draft report was released last December, you can get dizzy from all of the positive spin that SDOT adds to this report. In particular, it dramatically misrepresents the safety data — after SDOT didn’t do the research study it promised to do, and made no meaningful effort to get data on scooter collisions from King County Public Health or local hospitals. It carefully cherry-picked anecdotal data to give the appearance that the accidents that do occur are few and relatively minor.
Here is the full report from SDOT’s survey, including all of the questions related to safety.
Former WSDOT Director Doug McDonald filed a public-records request with SDOT and obtained the complete set of verbatim descriptions that survey respondents provided when asked to describe injuries they sustained while riding a scooter — more than 400 of them. They reveal that many of the injuries were indeed severe, requiring trips to the emergency room and weeks or months of recovery time. Several respondents indicate that they flipped over the handlebars; according to the survey, 70% of scooter-share riders never wear helmets, even though the city requires riders to wear them. In addition, 22% of respondents said that their most recent ride was on the sidewalk, even though the city prohibits riding scooters on sidewalks. According to SDOT, many users complained that they do not have enough safe places to ride the scooters given the low prevalence of bike lanes on city streets.
Despite the multiple safety issues, as well as issues with illegal riding and parked scooters obstructing sidewalks, in the final report on the pilot program SDOT announced its intent to make the scooter-share program permanent, relying on “education and outreach” to address the issues.
I hope you found this article valuable. If you did, please take a moment to make a contribution to support my ongoing work. Thanks!