The Scooter Rebellion Is Fueled By Serious Injuries

by on August 26, 2019 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

No doubt there is a scooter rebellion going on in San Diego’s coastal enclaves. District 1 Councilwoman Barbara Bry – who is also running for mayor – called for a moratorium on the vehicles. A Pacific Beach resident has begun an online petition for banning them, the City of San Diego is sparring with one scooter company over non-compliance issues after new regs went into effect, while citizen complaints about them mount at the Mayor’s office … but one thing is clear.

There are serious consequences to the fairly loose, free-wheeling atmosphere government has allowed the scooters to create; people –  riders – are suffering serious injuries; so much so that one recent week in San Diego, there were three skull fractures from scooter accidents.

One of those victims, Karen Riggot, continues to fight for her life after having had a serious crash on a scooter on Saturday, August 3rd.  50-year-old Karen was on Historic Decatur Road around 9:45 a.m. Saturday when she briefly took her hand off one handlebar in order to make an adjustment.

As her husband Dean described in a comment to the OB Rag:

“… the handlebar immediately clipped left and the scooter whipped her with such a ferocity that landed only on the back of her head and yet fracture her skull in so many places all the way to the front of her face!”

She was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and treated for a brain bleed and multiple skull fractures.

Dean is now on a mission: to educate other San Diegans about the dangers of scooters. He wrote:

Unfortunately as I sit here by my wife’s bedside and relived the horrifying events of that morning for the news, radio, friends and city leaders, I have plenty of time to think of it all.

We are now in our 3rd week of my wife’s fight and mine to bring awareness of the truer damage of these thing in their current incarnation.

So often I hear and read about the deaths statistics and only the death statistics; what’s not being talked about is the rate these things are causing in irreparable damage to homes and families.

They aren’t saying that in the 15 months or so, UCSD sees traumatic injuries at a rate of 10-12 a month…that’s potentially 10-12 of my wife coming in and fighting for their life monthly! This is one hospital – and doesn’t include the hundreds of broken bones.

Todd Gloria compared this to the car as well and I found that short sighted. Cars don’t kill you if you take your hand off the wheel, car tires have always been able to go over pot holes and ruts without slamming your head to the pavement and breaking the bones in your face.

Like a car? Not so much. Take the demographics of these scootesr in their small bubble versus the millions of cars on the road and you quickly find out by percentages and newness these things are outpacing motorcycles and cars in the rate of injuries they inflict.

You can argue rider error, by I would – based on design and availability – think the scooter has become the bigger symptom of a much larger pain problem than so many know or are willing to admit. I wish I knew what I know now, 3 weeks ago. My wife’s life or our home wouldn’t have been worth the risk.

As Karen struggles for her life, we know that scooter accidents can indeed be fatal. In March of this year a 53-year-old man died in a scooter crash when he lost control of the scooter and suffered serious head injuries.

Meanwhile, PB resident Bill Zent is closing in on 2,000 signatures for his petition to ban scooters. His website states:

“Restore sanity to our streets and sidewalks. Support Barbara Bry’s proposed ordinance to ban scooters. Scooters are injuring the riders, pedestrians and pose a real hazard to everyone trying to have a casual walk at the beach or downtown or anywhere.”

He has a list of reasons to get rid of scooters:

“They are being leased to underage minors and are a hazard to motorists and pedestrians. There are so many of them you can’t even walk down the sidewalk without having to pick them up and move them… I saw a guy on a scooter the other day tandem riding with his baby on his chest. Enough is enough.

“Personally, I think they need to go. Even the corrals aren’t working. They’re full with all different kinds of scooters and bikes. Scooters are supposed to be for last-mile transportation. If people want to own a scooter, they can buy one for $200.”

Ed Gallagher, a member of Pacific Beach Planning Group, was quoted in a article:

“The idea of a ban/moratorium is clearly tapping into a great deal of local frustration on this issue from PB residents and businesses. Not a permanent ban. It’s a moratorium until we work out how to do it safely and responsibly. In my personal opinion, the City should draft an RFP (request for proposals) and solicit bids to operate as we do with other public utilities.”

“The City drafts a contract with terms that fit our needs and companies agree to those terms and, if they fail to comply, they lose the contract. What’s so hard about that?”


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric August 27, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Very little benefit with a whole lot of risk.


Tony August 28, 2019 at 9:14 am

I wonder how the number of scooter accidents compares to the number of bike accidents – maybe we should ban bikes too?


Frank Gormlie August 28, 2019 at 12:23 pm

In late January, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found scooters are more dangerous than riding a bike or walking. UCLA medical personnel looked at about 250 patients who went to L.A. area ERs during a one-year period with scooter-related injuries. They found:

only 4.4 percent were definitely wearing helmets and 8.4 percent weren’t even riding the scooters themselves.
during the same 1-year period, there were ER visits for 195 biking and 181 for walkers.
Roughly 30 percent of the people with scooter injuries taken to ERs came by ambulance — “an indication of the severity of their injuries.”
Falls were responsible for the vast majority of the injuries — around 80 percent;

for more go to


Eric August 28, 2019 at 11:11 am

Here’s an answer for you. Plenty more like this article below available to find from reputable sources. Much higher injury per mile ratio on your scooters than any other mode of transportation out there (excluding penny-farthings and Stiletto heels) . Risk/benefit factor for the public doesn’t pencil out for anyone but the scooter manufacturers and rental companies.


Geoff Page August 28, 2019 at 12:15 pm

“penny-farthings” I love it, learn something new every day. I had to look it up and I had no idea that was what those old bikes were called.


Rich Del August 28, 2019 at 6:20 pm

Beg to differ on the ‘penny farthing’ comment. At least for modern riders, but still even for turn of the century riders. If those bicycles had the injury rate of these e-scooters, I’m sure they would have been abandoned before long! People rode 100 miles in a day back then. Racing penny farthings was a major sport in the 1880s. They were ridden across the country.
In my opinion, there is something inherently wrong with the design of these scooters to go ‘fast’ (12-15 mph?) with such small wheels and short wheelbase. How is one to safely stop the scooter suddenly in case of impending collision or road hazard?


Eric August 30, 2019 at 11:25 am

Rich I completely agree with you on the scooter design 100%, they are not safe and their deployment was careless. Yes people rode Penny Farthing’s because despite the significant dangers they were the only game in town and were the most efficient at the time to get from A to B and were not abandoned for safety reasons because there just wasn’t anything else. In the late 1800’s no one gave a flip about safety, no one. I’ll use the reason for the formation of my IBEW Electricians Union as an example regarding my strong assertion. The Penny Farthing was replaced by the safety bicycle once the chain drive came to be and it was a much more efficient and safer alternative. People still ride them in parades or for the same reason people still use old fashioned typewriters, restore Model T’s and dress up in period costumes at the Dicken’s or Renaissance Fairs because it’s fun and nostalgic and it is kinda cool to see a big wheel go down the street.


Peter from South O August 30, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Wasn’t the Velocipede the other game in town? The Penny Farthing was faster (they raced them, often with horrible results), but both bowed immediately to the safety and its magic chain, brake and newly invented pneumatic tires.
I have already expressed my disdain for the deadly scooters.


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