KINSTON, Lenoir County — The electric scooter company, Bird, is taking off in Kinston.
Once you download the app and find your ride, the first thing you need to do to be safe is take them off the sidewalk and start your ride on the road.
“I have only rode it a couple of times, but it’s fun, something new to do in Kinston,” said Will McDaniel.
McDaniel took a Bird scooter for a spin and so far he hasn’t had any safety concerns.
“I’m basically just treating it like a bicycle or anything else that has wheels and moves, respecting the law, stopping at stop signs, stop at red lights, just watching for cars because I know they’re not watching for me,” he said.
Kinston Police Department Sergeant Brian Biggins said with this new mode of transportation comes new concerns about traffic safety.
“The biggest issue with safety is we want everyone to be aware these are considered motor vehicles, they are to be driven on the roadway and they are to follow all traffic laws that vehicles and pedestrians must follow,” said Biggins.
According to a study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2019, out of 105 scooter accidents, about 58 percent of them happened on sidewalks.
“Sidewalks are meant for pedestrian walkers; scooters go about 15 mph — so if you have a group of people coming out of a restaurant or something like that and you have a scooter that’s running 15 mph on the sidewalk, that’s a recipe for disaster,” said Biggins.
While on the roads, riders must follow all traffic laws as if they are driving a car but KPD also asks that if you are driving to watch out for people on scooters.
“They should be mindful, they should treat them like pedestrians, pass when they’re able to pass, don’t get up on them, don’t push them out of the way, respect the laws of the road,“ said Biggins.
McDaniel said he won’t risk getting out in to much traffic but urges others to err on the side of caution.
“For the most part, but I think I pick the time of day to ride when it’s not a lot of traffic too. I think that helps,” said McDaniel.
Biggins said that there should only be one rider per scooter and that helmets are encouraged but not required.
He also said that if people aren’t following traffic laws, they could face serious violations like careless and reckless driving.