Thursday, May 30, 2019

Hoboken needs a bigger public safety push on e-Scooters

Director Ryan Sharpe riding an e-Scooter and not protecting the noggin.
It's an opportunity missed for public education, an uphill battle
in the new world of e-Scooter transportation. Oh yeah, bad form
all around.
Ending week one of the Hoboken e-Scooter pilot allows a chance for evaluation and necessary self-criticism.

The Hoboken pilot didn't kick off too well. Any educational efforts leading into the launch were inadequate with the public response strong in favor and in opposition. All agree continuous education is necessary.

Talking over the weekend to a man and woman traveling on the upper Washington St. sidewalk; it was clear they didn't have any idea they were doing anything wrong. They admitted they hadn't read much other than to get the e-Scooters rolling.

There was the weekend accident on upper Sinatra Drive too. Two young males tossed caution to the wind and opted to test the Darwinian herd thinning program for humans.

Getting the best balance on the standup Lime requires the use of the entire board: the lead foot straight and rear foot perpendicular forming a "T" is best. That's simply not possible with two adult riders where the engineering is intentionally inadequate.

What is missing from the pilot is a coordinated effort by all public officials to encourage the best safety practices, one of which is to wear a helmet. If nothing, it sends a strong positive message to everyone.

People may argue about statistical data with helmets for cycling and as here e-Scooters. What they fail to understand is merely wearing a helmet delivers a strong positive message to riders, pedestrians and drivers alike.

In testing both types of e-Scooters, it's self-evident drivers give a lot more respect when a rider is wearing a helmet. Call it a psychological ploy, tool or what have you. It's clear drivers show far more deference and respect when the helmet appears.

Another problem is teen use or rather, teen abuse. Parents are helping their kids get on board, pardon the pun, illegally and overlook the 18 years old minimum age requirement.

One teen already with e-Scooter in tow tries to help her
friend get illegal access. 
Some think the kids are grabbing scooters from adults but that's not likely the continuing problem. Late yesterday, two teen females were on upper Hudson Street. One rode an e-Scooter up and down the block as another attempted to obtain some registration approval.

Inquiring if they knew riding on the sidewalk was illegal, both acknowledged awareness. When it was pointed out the shorter girl was seen riding on the sidewalk the other responded with wallet in hand, "Not me."

How did the access come about? The teen girl murmured, "it's my mother's account."

If the Hoboken e-Scooter pilot is to succeed, everyone is going to need to help be best.

Everyone needs to help to set a culture for success.