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Company Wants to Make Electric Scooters in Austin, TX Safer

After the Austin City Council approved the legal operation of dockless bike and scooter sharing services in April 2018, the number of electric scooters in Austin has skyrocketed. Numerous scooter share companies like Bird, Lime, Uber-owned Jump, Lyft, Spin, and more have flooded the streets with their fleets of dockless scooters in Austin.

As of now, there are 10 authorized Austin scooter rental operators, each with a fleet of 5000 vehicles. What was once promised as an innovation in “micro-mobility” has become somewhat of an urban transit nightmare.1 One Austin-based company wants to change that!

Dockless Scooters in Austin Raise Serious Safety Concerns

In addition to the sheer number of electric scooters filling up Austin, particularly in the extremely dense and highly populated metropolitan areas, e-scooters come with a myriad of safety problems. A recent study by the National Center for Disease Control in partnership with Austin Public Health found that almost half of Austin scooter injuries were “serious.”2

This was the CDC’s first study on scooter safety and it led to the following findings:

  • 48% of e-scooter injuries resulted in head trauma (fractures, lacerations, and abrasions)
  • 70% of e-scooter injuries were to the wrists, hands, arms, or shoulders
  • 55% of e-scooter injuries were to the legs, knees, ankles, or feet
  • 20% of injured riders were hospitalized
  • Less than 1% of injured riders wore a helmet

Creating a Better Austin Scooter Company

Austin-based design firm Argodesign (which is now conducting studies in New York City and Amsterdam) wants to address one of the biggest safety concerns with dockless scooters in Austin and that’s where riders park e-scooters.

They proposed a new scooter design under a new scooter share brand called Step (the Dutch word for “scooter”).3 Through design, Argodesign’s proposal aims to improve the safety of the Austin community and create a more civilized use of e-scooters in public space.

Step’s proposed e-scooters are designed to be stored away in smaller and higher places and therefore declutter public streets and walkways. These scooters can be folded in half and either stand on the side of sidewalks or be attached to light poles after use.

While the Step brand may be more of a theoretical company, Argodesign truly wants scooter share companies to start embracing more innovative design. Design that prioritizes safety and community principles.

 

Sources

1. Nick Statt, The Verge – A CYCLONE OF SCOOTERS HAS DESCENDED ON AUSTIN FOR SXSW, FOR BETTER OR WORSE

2. Cindy Widner, Curbed Austin – CDC report: Nearly half of e-scooter riders in safety study had serious injuries

3. Argodesign, Medium – A Provocation for a Scooter Company That Doesn’t Suck

 

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