The recent Scoot Safe Summit, held July 14-15, was an informative, interactive microtransportation conference with sessions and presentations designed to highlight many of the relevant topics and issues covered on this very platform in previous blog posts. This event was honored by participation from Georgia’s own Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Shepherd Center, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, and leading micromobility names like Helbiz, Spin, Lime and Bird. Across two days of virtual presentations, speakers provided a valuable forum for connecting the dots and aligning the interests of local and state governments with the operators and organizations invested in establishing electric scooter safety across Georgia.
Every presentation included valuable safety data, tips for increasing electric scooter safety and discussion of how the value of micromobility intersects with the safety of Georgia citizens. The primary elements from this microtransportation conference can be summarized in a few key points. Here are 5 electric scooter safety takeaways from this year’s Scoot Safe Summit.
Technological Advancement Is Primed for Safety Advancement
Presenter Cheyanne Woodyard with Link by Superpedestrian discussed how coming technological advancements in micromobility will do more than create increased collaboration with city partners. New and patented safety systems like the ones offered by Link by Superpedestrian will have “safety-obsessed” features that automate safety practices and use instant geofencing to manage proper travel and parking zones. Many new physical safety features will include better brake systems, an absence of exposed cables and non-slip surfaces to guard against accidents during rainy travel.
Helmet Use and Innovation is the Wave of the Scooting Future
Featured speaker Dr. Barry Miller of Virginia Tech’s Helmet Lab, a comprehensive injury biomechanics lab known for helmet ratings and insight, spoke on helmet use and innovation and how it relates to micromobility and electric scooter safety. Miller’s lab has been instrumental in driving improved safety ratings for helmets across countless sports, using proven data to show how impact and velocity can affect the potential for traumatic brain injury. Highlighting innovations like 3D-printed internal padding structures, Miller extensively covered how various activities and findings inform sport-specific helmet design and improved safety ratings. But ultimately, Miller was plain about helmet wearing and its benefits.
“Wearing any helmet will drastically reduce your concussion risk by 75 to 80%, even if it’s not the best-rated helmet on the market,” Miller said. “You can’t train your body to absorb concussion risks. The only way to mitigate that risk is to wear the helmet on every ride.”
Consistent Safety and Speed Control Wins It Every Time
Stephen Spring of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) spoke during the microtransportation conference to reinforce the value of consistent safety basics and maintaining a safe speed during electric scooter usage. As the education and outreach program manager for ABC, Spring’s core goal is to help riders — particularly first-time riders — to “roll with confidence.” Going over basic skills like turning, scanning and lane changing, Spring led conference attendees through key points of basic safety and helped conference attendees understand new ways to communicate and highlight these basic safety practices. Spring emphasized the importance of wearing a properly fitted helmet on an electric scooter just as one would on a bicycle.
Training and Education are the Ideal Platform for Prevention
Kimberly Sergeant, Vision Zero manager for the Atlanta Department of Transportation, spoke about speed and instruction from her position as someone intricately involved in the Atlanta micromobility movement. Discussing the vital importance of proper infrastructure and ADA accessibility in city areas where micromobilty is a factor, Sergeant also addressed safe riding behaviors. Covering sidewalk detection technology, reduced speed zones and overall education of riders, Sergeant reviewed safety and ridership growth successes that have come as a result of added infrastructure like pop-up bike lanes used by electric scooter riders.
Sergeant also reviewed successful safety educational campaigns surrounding factors like speed, scooting under the influence, parking, and leaving space between your scooter and other vehicles or pedestrians. Sergeant was able to show conference attendees useful tools for deterring riding on sidewalks, a key violation that is never acceptable in Atlanta’s micromobility program. Clearly outlining concerns and responses taken by her city, Sergeant painted a clear picture of how proactive safety and education can create impactful change across a program.
Equity in Transportation is a Safety Issue Worth Solving
Former Director of the Georgia Government’s Office of Highway Safety Bob Dallas closed out the conference with a brief overview of his insight after a career spent aligning disparate interests in public safety to achieve public behavior changes that yield better health outcomes. Focusing on micromobilty and electric scooter safety in particular, Dallas emphasized how important it is for city leaders and local municipalities to ask the question of who their programs are designed to serve and how. Emphasizing equity as a core theme, Dallas provided conference attendees insight into how micromobility’s accessibility, affordability, safety and health factors create the ideal conditions for growth when managed responsibly and thoughtfully.
“It comes down to asking the right questions up front before we place programs in areas,” Dallas said. “And it’s not ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’ It’s ‘with the people.’ Let’s find out what these communities need and then provide that.”
Ready to learn more about safety statistics and education featured during the 2021 Scoot Safe Summit? Zoom on over to our conference page for more engaging content.