This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.
The Bird scooter and other similar electric scooters have been a fun, handy, commuting option for people in the D.C. metro area over the last couple of months, but now it’s led to a tragic death.
Arlington residents can now choose to hop on an electric scooter to commute around town. Bird — one of the startup companies participating in D.C.’s dockless pilot program — has deployed a brand new fleet of small, efficient scooters throughout Arlington, despite not having any official arrangement with the county.
Our very own Keri Shull took to the streets to find out what locals think about the new arrivals.
Many residents expressed excitement when asked their opinion about the Bird scooters, hoping that they will help eliminate some of the traffic congestion at rush hour. One resident specifically said that he looks forward to riding one on a hot day, so he can zoom around town with a breeze in his face.
However, some local Arlington residents are concerned about safety. Many Bird scooter riders do not wear helmets, and there have already been two serious accidents to date. In Dupont Circle, one man tragically lost his life riding a similar style e-scooter, rented from a company called Lime.
His name was Carlos Sanchez-Martin and he was only 20 years old. He was hit by an SUV while riding his electric scooter and died at the hospital from his injuries. This tragic accident is the first of its kind in our area. Since there are no firm regulations in place to police these dockless e-scooters, Sanchez-Martin’s death has been ruled a pedestrian crash and no charges have been filed against the SUV driver.
Another man — an Arlington resident — suffered serious injuries after crashing on a Bird scooter a few weeks ago. Daniel Birkeland was walking along in the Clarendon neighborhood on a hot day when he decided to ride an e-scooter home and get some relief from the heat. One minute he was riding his Bird scooter down a street, and the next he was waking up in an ambulance.
Daniel bumped his head and has no recollection of the accident. Witnesses say he lost control of the scooter going over a speed-hump, validating people’s fears that the scooters may not be safe enough yet for the streets. Now he’s warning other potential riders of the risks.
“The wheels are very tiny, you’re very low to the ground, and you have zero protection,” he told Keri when discussing his experience. He considers himself lucky to have escaped his crash without any further harm, and I think it’s safe to say that he won’t be getting back on a Bird scooter in Arlington again!
Riders certainly must practice caution when riding these e-scooters, and watch out not only for cars but pedestrians too. A few locals that Keri spoke with are worried that the scooters will just become a new nuisance for pedestrians on the sidewalks. One resident suggested that they should only be used down by the waterfront where there is more room for riding.
Let us know in the comments, what do you think of the dockless electric scooters?