Aug 12, 2022 - News

FOIA Friday: How dangerous are e-scooters?

Illustration of an electric scooter with a "Sorry, we're closed" sign hanging from the handlebars.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Despite restricting e-scooter access on summer weekend nights for rider safety, the city hasn't been able to back up claims doing so keeps residents safer.

Why it matters: Residents should know whether e-scooter riders are actually getting into accidents, especially because some feel safer riding scooters to get home at night rather than walking or taking public transit.

What they said: "Scooters are dangerous — people do get hurt on them," Rudy Harper, Detroit 2nd deputy police chief, told Axios in June.

  • But when asked to provide data that backs up these claims, the city has yet to do so.

What happened: We requested all documented electric scooter — Lime, Bird, Spin, Link — accidents involving the rider, pedestrians and/or vehicles on June 21.

  • The city responded on June 24 saying it would need until July 15 to produce the records due to the nature and the scope of our request.
  • Nearly a month later, we still haven't received a response from the city's FOIA department despite consistent follow-ups.

The latest: John Roach, Mayor Mike Duggan's spokesperson, tells Axios he believes it may have been determined that if the info exists in police reports, it's not organized in a way that is readily retreivable.

  • Roach tells us to keep an eye out for a cost estimate letter early next week.

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