An electric scooter rental business has come to Ashland.
Inventor and business man Danny Harris of Ashland had seen the scooters operating in other towns and decided to bring the idea home.
Called ZipRides, the scooters can be found around 15th and 16th Streets and must be returned to that area, but there are no specific stations to place them.They are activated by an app, which shows the charge percentage for each scooter. Rides are about $5 for 15 minutes.
We are always happy when something positive and interesting comes to town. However, we have some concerns.
Certainly, there are rules about riding scooters in town, including a requirement to ride on the road, not on the sidewalk.
We wonder how safe it is to mix up scooter traffic with automobile traffic.
We also have concerns that helmets are not required, although recommended.
The top speed for the scooters is 18 miles per hour; motorists driving in the street could become frustrated and experience road rage.
However, World Resources Institute has researched scooter rental in cities in the United States, and the results are hopeful.
• Scooter-related injuries over a three-month period in Austin, Texas, showed the injury rate of 20 per 100,000 rides, meaning that a person taking two scooter trips a day could expect to be injured once every seven years.
• Scooter riders surveyed in Portland, Oregon, said they would feel safer if the city had protected bike lanes, smoother pavement, wider bike lanes and designated scooter parking.
According to a user survey asking what would make riders feel safer, most respondents want protected bike lanes, smoother pavement, wider bike lanes and designated scooter parking.
• WRI's research also found an improved outcome for scooter riders when intersections were redesigned and traffic calming measures like speed humps and raised pedestrian crossings were implemented.
• The research also showed a positive correlation between speed and fatalities among scooter rides, meaning the slower scooters move the fewer fatalities.
We aren't against progress in general, or scooters specifically. We just want everyone to be aware of any risks involved. To learn more, visit zipride.fun. If we observe safety rules and remain flexible while ZipRides evolve and find their place in Ashland, the city and its residents should enjoy and benefit from this new mode of transportation.