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Atlanta Grapples With Growing E-Scooter Fatalities

With four confirmed deaths in 2019, Atlanta is now the nation’s most dangerous city for rentable e-scooters. Road safety advocates hope these sobering figures will lead to improved safety infrastructure throughout Georgia’s capital.

The first of these fatalities occurred in May when an SUV allegedly hit a young e-scooter rider near the West Lake MARTA Station. The second and third crashes both occurred in Midtown in July. Atlanta’s fourth e-scooter death happened in early August when a rider in East Point allegedly ran through a red light and was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

In response to these fatalities, Atlanta’s leaders introduced a new “Nighttime Riding Restriction.” Under this new legislation, it’s illegal for rentable e-scooters and e-bikes to operate on the city’s streets between 9PM – 4AM.

Atlanta is also working on creating temporary bike-protected lanes to better accommodate e-scooter and e-bike riders. Most of the e-scooter riders killed in Atlanta were riding on streets without protected lanes at the time of their crash.

Although these fatality figures are troubling, members of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition said it shouldn’t deter people from trying more cost-effective, eco-friendly modes of transportation. Coalition members also reminded the press that over 100 car crash victims died in Fulton County in 2017.

The real issue, according to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, is the city’s lack of adequate safety lanes. Adding more bike-protected lanes could significantly improve e-scooter safety, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition argues.

Rentable e-scooters were first allowed on Atlanta’s streets in May of 2018. Today, city data suggests residents take about 11,000 trips per day on approximately 12,000 shareable devices.

There are now eight e-scooter companies operating in Atlanta, five of which are allowed 2,000 devices apiece. The companies Bolt and Wheels are permitted 1,000 devices each and the last company (Boaz) is only allowed 200 devices.
Below is a list of companies that can send 2,000 devices each into Atlanta:
  • Bird
  • Lime
  • Lyft
  • Spin
  • Jump

The company Gotcha, which had been operating 500 devices, recently announced it will suspend its Atlanta division. Executives at Gotcha didn’t say if the recent e-scooter fatalities had anything to do with their decision.

For more information on Atlanta’s current e-scooter policies, be sure to check out the city’s official “Shareable Dockless Mobility Devices” portal.

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