Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Highland Village promotes scooter safety after recent accidents

In a week where two children were reportedly hospitalized after electric scooter accidents, the city of Highland Village is urging parents to ensure their kids are using their scooters and bikes safely.

Local resident Michelle Reed said that on Monday afternoon, she was driving on Hillside Drive when she approached an intersection and found a boy, apparently around 13 years old, who was lying unconscious in the street, next to his scooter. Reed got out of her car and ran over to him and called 911.

“His head had hit the concrete, and he wasn’t wearing a helmet,” Reed said. “There was blood all over his face.”

More people stopped and tried to calm the boy when he opened his eyes and appeared to be in shock, Reed said. A police officer arrived, and Reed was told that the boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and that his parents had been notified. Mayor Dan Jaworski said he’d heard the boy’s injuries were life-threatening, but his condition on Friday is not known.

There was another accident involving a 13-year-old girl riding a scooter at Highland Shores Boulevard and Community Center Drive about 2 p.m. Thursday, according to a police spokesperson. The girl had another girl on her scooter as she crossed Highland Shores, and a Frontier van was headed toward them. The scooter passenger, who was not wearing a helmet, jumped off the scooter before the scooter struck the side of the van. The passenger was not injured, but the scooter operator, who was wearing a helmet, was injured and was transported to the hospital. The driver of the van was issued a citation. Her condition is not known.

Jaworski said there’s been a significant uptick in kids using electric scooters.

“It goes back to Christmas, a lot of these e-scooters were gifts, and it’s just been a steady increase from there,” Jaworski said. “And now that school’s out, kids want to go visit their friends. I’ve gotten a number of texts and emails, and other council members have as well, and there are people on social media saying kids on these scooters are darting out in front of their vehicles at The Shops and all around town.”

These electric scooters can go 25 mph and are popular with kids who aren’t old enough to drive and haven’t been educated in traffic safety. They’re not allowed at all at The Shops at Highland Village, though they can be spotted there regularly.

“These scooters are extremely fast, and there’s a lot of traffic,” said Police Chief Doug Reim. “Drivers can be distracted, and kids sometimes wear headphones while they’re riding their scooter and can’t hear anything. We don’t give drivers licenses to kids until they’re 16 for a reason.”

Jaworski said the city is working to amend its scooter-related ordinance to require every scooter be registered and for everyone operating one to go through safety training. In the meantime, though, Jaworski and Reim are urging parents to talk to their kids about safety.

“Wear a helmet, first and foremost, and stop riding these with two people on them, they’re not designed for that,” Reim said. “Don’t go max speed, and don’t trust vehicles to yield right-of-way, no matter if you’re in the right or not. I also recommend wearing additional safety equipment, because if you wipe out at 25 mph, it’s not pretty.”

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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