Friday, September 7, 2018

Police and Fire Departments Will Start Keeping Tabs When Accident Calls Involve Scooters

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2018 at 4:39 PM

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With new rules for electric scooters looming, San Antonio city council has asked police and fire dispatchers to begin noting when they respond to injuries involving the devices.

The change makes it easier for the city to track scooter mishaps, said Joe Arrington, public information officer for the San Antonio Fire Department. When responding to traumas, emergency personnel file reports that may indicate when a scooter is involved, but it's difficult to quickly tabulate the number of incidents unless dispatchers do so when handling the calls.

"Now we have an official way to track that information," Arrington said. "It's a very new mandate."

Council expects to pass rules this fall governing the devices' use. Three scooter-sharing companies have popped up in San Antonio since June, and as in other cities, they started offering services ahead of local regulations.

Arrington and SAPD Public Information Officer Carlos Ortiz said they're aware of recent scooter-related injuries, but neither said the numbers showed cause for alarm.

"We've had a few calls here and there, but we haven't seen a rash of them yet," Arrington said.

Even so, today's Washington Post notes that serious injuries from scooter mishaps are spiking in parts of the country. Some, including broken bones and facial lacerations, are akin to trauma from car crashes, while others have caused the kind of head trauma that can result in brain damage.

The Post based its report on interviews with health officials in seven cities, including Austin and San Francisco, where one emergency room doctor said he's seeing as many as 10 severe injuries a week.

At least one San Antonio scooter accident made national news this summer when a rider bowled over a woman leaving a downtown building and left the scene.

The next step in the city's effort to rein in rideshare scooters comes Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. when council will hold a public hearing before it starts deliberating on rules.

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