The CDC Scooter Study, released May 2, 2019, validates many of the safety concerns VeoRide sees in the market, and we have developed some solutions to the issues identified. As a current e-scooter operator in Austin, though not part of the initial study, VeoRide has found scooter design is critical to safety.
The study showed 50% believed surface conditions like a pothole or crack in the street contributed to their injuries. In addition, 25% of the incidents occurred while traveling downhill, and 19% were due to brake or wheel failure. Clearly, these failures indicate a need for softer, wider tires and better suspension. The typical Austin e-scooter has hard, 7-inch tires and failure-prone electric brakes, as well as step-on fender brakes that most first-time users don’t know how to use. VeoRide’s e-scooter has 10-inch wheels with a shock-absorbing vacuum core plus a front and rear suspension that prevents jolts to the rider. These features were designed to create more stability when riding on the street and reduce the risks of accidents caused by cracks or debris in the roadway. We also utilize mechanical, disc brakes that are more reliable and intuitive for the rider.
We noted a third of the injured scooter riders were first-time users, and we completely agree that education from the outset is critical to establish safe riding behavior. VeoRide’s staffing model supports safe use through rider education, community engagement, and preventative maintenance checks plus other benefits.
VeoRide employees, not independent “juicers,” are on the streets rebalancing and maintaining VeoRide scooters to support proper riding behavior. They are hired and trained by us to be the face of the company in the community. They interact with customers in the market and perform regular multi-point inspections and maintenance of each e-scooter, so our riders may be confident they have a safe e-scooter to take them to their next destination. Our staff also conduct community rides, educating users on proper safety, and distributing free helmets as well as teaching their importance for head protection.
We expect e-scooters to continue to gain ground as a viable form of alternative transportation and VeoRide is committed to learning from the CDC’s and other organizations’ studies so we may provide our riders with a safe, reliable and enjoyable way to travel short distances.