According to police, a group of people were riding electric scooters in the intersection of Pacific Avenue and 4th Street just after 12 a.m. when one of the riders was struck by a dark-color sedan. The Long Beach fire department transported the victim to a local hospital.
As aforementioned, the driver of the suspect vehicle fled the area. They were last seen headed westbound on Pacific Avenue and then northbound on Cedar Avenue, police said. No other details were provided and the investigation is ongoing.
Dockless electric scooters are responsible for over 38.5 million trips a year, according to a study from the National Associate of City Transport officials. Moreover, per a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 riders are injured for every 100,000 e-scooter trips. In these accidents, most people sustained head injuries and, in more unfortunate cases, sustained traumatic brain injuries.
Since e-scooter, like bikes, are supposed to ride on the streets and not on sidewalks, a big priority for e-scooter and bicycle companies is federal funding for bike lanes and widened streets. Legislation such as the Complete Streets Act would allow local entities to apply for funding to build projects including sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops. E-scooters and bicycles are replacing millions of trips that would be taken by cars, and transportation and tax policies need to reflect that “new reality,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, said in an email to Bloomberg Government.
In Long Beach, it is illegal to ride an e-scooter on any beach bike path or adjacent to the marina and sidewalks. They also cannot be ridden on private property.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that most e-scooter injuries occur in sidewalks, with riders citing potholes and signposts as the most common reasons for accidents. Like in the rest of California, it is illegal to ride an e-scooter on sidewalks in Long Beach. Among the riders interviewed for the research, the results showed that 58% had been injured riding on the sidewalk — with 4% of those surveyed injured while taking their first ride. Moreover, only 13% of riders said they were injured in a collision with a car, bus, or truck.
Concerns about the safety of the devices have been around since they began operating. According to a UCLA study from 2019, e-scooters were associated with 249 emergency room visits between September 2017 and the end of August 2018 in two Los Angeles hospitals. The reported injuries included dislocations, bone fractures, lung contusions, soft-tissue injuries, and a splenic laceration. Moreover, people in the 18 to 34 age group are the most likely to sustain e-scooter injuries. Hospital admissions in this age group reportedly skyrocketed by 354% between 2014 and 2018.
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