The rules of the road are always changing, but many New Yorkers may get caught off-guard by a law that may soon affect their safety on the streets. Both chambers of the legislature have passed a law that allows for rental e-scooters on New York streets, except for in Manhattan.
The bill has not yet been delivered to the governor for his signature, but there is no indication at this time to anticipate a veto. Moreover, with high levels of support in both the House and the Senate, it is likely that the legislature could choose to override any veto that does occur.
In other words, you may see rental scooters popping up in New York in the upcoming months. While they may not be practical during the depths of winter, for much of the year, these scooters may be popular for workers, students and tourists.
Get in the habit of looking for e-scooters and bikes
While they may not be on the road yet, it does take some time to develop a new habit. Right now is a perfect time to start double-checking the road near you every time you turn, merge or maneuver your vehicle. These extra checks may feel redundant, but they could help prevent a crash in the future.
E-scooter drivers can do dangerous things
One of the most alarming things about the e-scooter trend is that people seem to view them as toys and not just vehicles. While people may use them as part of their daily commute, they will think of the experience as something fun, which may inspire them to take less care when making decisions.
They may do things like attempt to weave in and out of traffic or otherwise drive in a dangerous manner. You should try to remain aware of e-scooters nearby, even if they are on a sidewalk or in a parking lot.
Not everyone on scooters chooses to wear safety gear
Because they travel at lower speeds and possibly because people stand upright while driving them, there seems to be less concern about the potential for brain injuries among scooter drivers than among people who drive sit-down open vehicles, like motorcycles.
Unfortunately, head injuries can occur at any speed, especially because the speed of the scooter won't necessarily reflect the speed of other nearby vehicles.
Cars can damage scooters, but scooters can hurt pedestrians
When you're behind the wheel, you have the potential to cause an accident with someone on an e-scooter that could kill them or leave them with permanent injuries. When you are walking somewhere, individuals on e-scooters could cause you serious injuries.
They could slam into you, pushing you into other people, buildings or even traffic. They can knock you to the ground, causing broken bones or head injuries. The potential circumstances for pedestrian injury are nearly limitless.
There are already many risks for drivers on the streets of New York City, and e-scooters will likely be one more factor to consider when driving. However, it's important to understand how the presence of these tiny vehicles will impact the safety of those in larger vehicles as well as pedestrians.