Personal Injury Lawyer &
Worker's Comp Attorney

816-400-4878

Are all these electric scooters in KC an accident waiting to happen?

Thursday, Oct. 11th 2018

 
Lime scooters made its Kansas City debut Tuesday with an event at the Jazz District. Councilman Jermaine Reed tries it out and runs into another user (but not literally).

BY THE KANSAS CITY STAR EDITORIAL BOARD

September 11, 2018 06:26 PM

Updated September 13, 2018 11:06 AM

With another surge of electric scooters arriving on Kansas City streets, local officials are scrambling to educate the public on the dangers of recklessly riding on sidewalks and streets without helmets. But will their outreach be enough to keep daredevils safe?

On Tuesday, Lime landed in the Kansas City market, just a couple months after Bird dropped electric scooters in multiple neighborhoods. Both companies require riders to wear helmets and operate the dockless scooters on streets.

But riders have zipped up and down the sidewalks and streets without helmets since Birddebuted here in July. Users are brazenly flouting the companies’ terms of service. And that is a recipe for disaster.

Area hospitals have already reported multiple injuries from the electric scooters including one patient with a brain injury. And the go-go gadgets are probably here to stay. More must be done to protect riders.

While no ordinance mentions electric scooters specifically, city officials say that an existing ordinance that prohibits motorized vehicles on sidewalks would apply to Lime and Bird.

Safety measures would be almost impossible to enforce, City Manager Troy Schulte said. The city’s experience with Lime will be incorporated into a pilot program that staff is developing, he said. But it’s too soon to say whether it will include punitive measures for hotdogging riders.

“We can pass an ordinance mandating helmets and/or we can have (the police department) start writing tickets for riding on sidewalks,” he said. “The PD and the city’s approach has been to educate first before enforcement. I think that approach has merit.”

Education does have value. Police in Kansas City need to focus on violent crime, and writing tickets for illegal use of electric scooters should not be a priority. But what’s the right balance?

That’s a source of consternation for transportation advocates, including Robbie Makinen, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. His message to riders and policymakers is simple: Let’s work together.

“You as a customer have got to take some responsibility also,” Makinen said. “It needs to be that type of partnership.”

The KCATA has been working with City Hall to get the scooters approved in areas along the agency’s bus routes. The effort is important, Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed said. Outreach should include residents in the urban core.

“Kansas City is on the rise,” Reed said. “But we have to continue to grow.”

The city has been quick to embrace dockless transportation. In fact, it’s one of only a few metro areas with both Lime and Bird. But until policymakers act on safety issues, riders should use the same strategies as cyclists, said Tracy McDonald, program director for trauma at the University of Kansas Health System.

Users should ride electric scooters in the proper street lanes and obey all traffic laws. It should go without saying that they should be sober and not distracted. A helmet is highly recommended.

As Schulte points out, bike lanes are now much more than just bike lanes.

“Construction of capital projects take years to accomplish and we have had a disruptive influence rapidly change the needs in streets in just a matter of months,” he said.

Electronic scooters and other modes of dockless transportation are multiplying rapidly. It would benefit the entire region if Kansas City developed its strategic plan with that in mind.

In the meantime, the onus is on riders and policymakers to ensure that all these electric scooters aren’t an accident waiting to happen.

Editor’s note: This editorial has been updated to reflect than an existing city ordinance that prohibits motorized vehicles on sidewalks would apply to Lime and Bird. Some area hospitals have now reported multiple injuries from the electric scooters.

Two Lime electric scooters at Mill Street and Westport Road early Tuesday afternoon Derek Donovan The Star

Two Lime electric scooters at Mill Street and Westport Road early Tuesday afternoon


Personal Injury

If you’ve been injured and aren’t sure where to turn, let us help. We represent individuals in many areas of personal injury including truck, auto and motorcycle accidents, property liability (slip & fall), spinal cord injuries, and more.

Worker's Comp

Injured at work? We can help! If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, we can help ensure you get full and fair compensation under the law.

Small Enough To Care, Smart Enough To Win.

Our Personal Injury & Worker's Comp Attorneys

Northland Injury Law: Personal Injury Lawyers in Northland Kansas City and Northwest Missouri.

Proudly serving: Gladstone, Liberty, Kansas City, North Kansas City, Saint Joseph, Plattsburg, Cameron, Chillicothe, Trenton, and more.

The Northland Injury Law Firm has been practicing in the Kansas City area for many years. Our founders, Max Von Erdsmannsdorff and Steve Mowry, built a strong foundation for the firm. Since Eric Bartlett joined the firm in 1996, Northland Injury Law has earned a reputation for success, honesty and compassion in personal injury and worker’s compensation.

I found Northland Injury Law to be very professional and honest! They kept me up to date on my case. I would highly recommend the whole firm for all your legal needs!!” – Michael T.

Northland Injury Law is proud of the relationships they’ve built with the clients they have served in the Northland and surrounding areas.  Their many great results for seriously injured people have helped their clients recover the significant economic losses that attend such serious injuries.

When it comes to a lawsuit after an accident or injury, representation matters! Most people do not realize that insurance companies have teams of lawyers, investigators, photographers and defense experts who immediately go to work following a serious accident involving their insureds.  They hire these people to minimize their exposure throughout the claims process and to reduce the amount received by the victim. Northland Injury Law aims to level the playing field for their clients.

This is an excellent law firm. They helped me out after an accident and did an awesome job. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs a good lawyer.” – Toni B.

Between them, Mr. Mowry and Mr. Bartlett have over  50 combined years of legal experience in the Kansas City Northland area. They have both been recognized by KC Magazine as “Top attorneys in Missouri and Kansas” and both have been recognized in the National Top 100 Trial Attorneys.

If you require the services of excellent local lawyers after an accident or injury, call Northland Injury Law today for a free consultation at 816-400-4878.

Latest Blog

State troopers ask drivers for extra care this season

By: Jenny Gray Photo by News Tribune /Fulton Sun. Missouri Highway Patrol officials are asking motorists to make safety a priority this holiday season. In 2017, there were 1,618 traffic crashes during the Christmas counting period....

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers about our Kansas City law firm, like how and when to file a suit for your Personal Injury & Worker’s Compensation.

View All FAQ's
Northland Injury Law © All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy

Site Created by KC Web Specialists, LLC