Home > NewsRelease > Washington DC Mayor Urged to Temporarily Ban E-scooters to Protect Residents from Coronavirus
Text
Washington DC Mayor Urged to Temporarily Ban E-scooters to Protect Residents from Coronavirus
From:
Edward Segal -- Crisis Management Expert Edward Segal -- Crisis Management Expert
Washington , DC
Sunday, March 22, 2020

 

Citing the potential of e-scooters to spread COVID-19 among Washington DC residents and injure pedestrians and riders, the leaders of two community advocacy groups today urged DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to immediately and temporarily ban the use and storage of more than 5,200 e-scooters from all streets, sidewalks, and storage facilities in the nation's capital until the worsening public health emergency is over.  

Howard Marks, founder of Take Back Our Sidewalks, and Edward Segal, founder of DangerousDCScooters.com, told Bowser in a letter that, "Based on our personal observations, e-scooters are not carefully cleaned after each use and likely to do not meet the CDC's strict coronavirus standards. The pandemic has made thousands of e-scooters even more potentially dangerous than they were before COVID-19.  Every hour the scooters are allowed to be used or left parked in public spaces adds an unnecessary fear factor to an already anxious and worrisome situation."

Marks lives above the Chinatown Friendship Arch where up to 30 scooters from various companies are dropped off daily.  From his home office above the intersection, Marks said has never seen gig employees clean a single e-scooter. Marks said their job is simply to drop-off the e-scooters in the morning and pick them up at night. 

Marks and Segal told Bowser, "Besides the renters, the gig workers who pick up the scooters and bring them home to charge and repair are endangering their friends and family members by handling the scooters which could have droplet-contaminated surfaces, hen placing them in vans or cars that they share with others. They would also be charging [the scooters] somewhere that friends or family members live where others might touch them as well."

"if an otherwise healthy scooter rider is transported by ambulance to a hospital for a broken bone or head jinjry, it takes away ambulance and DC EMS personnel from tending to unpreventable emergencies from coronavirus," Marks and Segal noted. 

They said that on March 18, in an emergency order banning e-scooters (and other micro-mobility devices), the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida, said they "are not routinely cleaned between users, and may become vectors for special COVID-19/novel Coronavirus."  Based on this observation, Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered last Wednesday all commercial e-scooters be taken off the streets and sidewalks of the sprawling county. The population of the county is 2.7 million, according to census data.

Marks and Segal told Bowser, "We believe that under the Emergency Order (2020-045) you signed [on March 11] you have the authority to temporarily ban e-scooters under Emergency Measures and Requirements (IIA). This authorizes the City Administrator "to implement any measures as may be necessary or appropriate to protect persons or property in the District of Columbia from the impacts of COVID-19. Banning e-scooters temporarily would definitely protect (the health) of persons."

"In view of your March 11, 2020 declaration of both a state of emergency and a public health emergency, we urge you to immediately pull the operating licenses for the over 5,235 e-scooters (standup dockless Personal Mobility Devices) currently allowed to operate before teh COVID-19 crisis," they wrote.

Numerous studies have documented an alarming number of emergency room visits by both e-scooter renters and pedestrians either struck by e-scooters or blind and disabled people who trip over them on the sidewalk.

"Hospital emergency departments and DC EMS cannot be diverted from saving the lives of COVID-19 victims in order to accommodate e-scooter related injuries. Nationwide, we face shortages of medical personnel, equipment testing supplies, hospital and intensive care beds, and ventilators. Eelctive surgeries have been cancelled to help preserve scarce resources to fight the novel coravirus. These resources should not be squandered to deal with e-scooter injuries -- which could be entirely prevented by a change in District policy," Marks and Segal said in their letter.

Segal is the author of the forthcoming book on crisis management: Crisis Ready -- 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies (Nicholas Brealey/Hachette.)

                                                           ###

 
Edward Segal
Crisis Management Expert
GetCrisisReady.com
Washington, DC
415-218-8600