As more people fall victim to e-scooter accidents, specialists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are heading to Austin, Texas, to study the incidents and see what can be done.
According to a slide deck by Austin’s transportation department, the department is partnering with Austin Public Health to bring three CDC epidemiologists to the city.
They’ll study 37 emergency calls and 68 scooter injuries reported over a 60-day period from Sept. 5 to Nov. 4, look for patterns and advise city officials working to create new scooter rules, says a report in the Austin American-Statesman. The CDC workers will begin interviews next week, the Statesman said.
It’s the first CDC epidemiology study on dockless scooters in the US, according to the slide deck, which was pointed to by Austin’s NPR station, KUT. The CDC’s mission involves more than fighting disease. Among other things, the agency also consults with decision-makers about natural or man-made health threats, the agency’s site says.
Rentable e-scooters from Lime, Lyft, Uber-owned Jump and other companies have become a controversial topic as they show up in more US cities and regulators hurry to write laws around the new form of transportation.
Some people say they love being able to scoot around congested cities, but others complain that riders endanger pedestrians. And with scooter users starting to flood emergency rooms, critics are also increasingly concerned about rider safety.