By DALYAH JONES • KUT 90.5 • DEC 6, 2018
The city [of Austin] says it's working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study dockless scooter-related injuries and incidents in Austin – a first for the nation's public health institute.
Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department is partnering with three CDC epidemiologists to look at the health risks of dockless scooters. The details of the study were presented to the city's Mobility Committee this afternoon.
The study will focus on 37 EMS calls and 68 scooter-related injuries reported over a 60-day period between Sept. 5 and Nov. 4 this year at Austin area hospitals. Data collected will, ideally, be used to educate riders – and the city itself – on the best safety practices in Austin and beyond.
The city adopted rules for deployment and operations of the scooters last month after its initial pilot program expired.
Dockless bikes and scooters began officially rolling out on to Austin streets this year, starting with bikes in February. Scooters outpaced that growth quickly, but have also prompted safety concerns and sidewalk congestion.
Austin is currently home to seven dockless mobility companies who own or operate more than 11,000 bikes and scooters; bikes account for a mere 850 of those. Recently, the city called out Lime for packing its scooters into the downtown area, forcing it to reduce its fleet by 20 percent (1,000 scooters) for violating its agreement with the city.
The city says, in October alone, riders took nearly 293,000 dockless scooter and bike trips, with scooters accounting for 94 percent of those rides.
After the study and public input is gathered over the next few months, the Austin City Council could vote on tweaks to the rules as soon as March or April next year.