[By Jeff Neumeyer]
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Parents who let their kids ride ‘shotgun’, if you will, on scooters with them are putting those children’s safety at risk, and are exposing themselves to problems with the law.
That’s according to Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards.
She has other concerns about reckless driving practices on scooters.
“I think what we are seeing downtown is people just speeding all over the place and not stopping at the appropriate place,” Richards said.
She knows the new scooters for rent in the heart of the city are a hot ticket, but she says with fun comes responsibility to obey the rules of the road.
That includes no crowding pedestrians off sidewalks, or failing to stop at red lights and stop signs.
Her biggest concern has to do with parents bringing young kids along for the ride.
“I just watched it in my neighborhood the other night, this little boy was probably eight years old and his dad was behind him, and they were cruising down the sidewalk. And if somebody has an accident with their child on the front of one of these, and the child gets injured, that is neglect of a dependent, and that’s a felony,” she said.
There have been some accidents associated with scooters rented by VeoRide, a Chicago-based company that operates in several locations.
Fort Wayne attorney Mark Paul Smith is planning to sue VeoRide and the City of Fort Wayne.
He represents Marshal Warner, who claims a VeoRide scooter he was recently riding on had been tampered with by vandals, prompting the handlebars to come off.
He says he was thrown to the ground and was hospitalized with broken bones, requiring surgery.
Smith says riders should have to return the scooters to a central drop off point, not leave them along the side of the road for the next person to grab and go.
“No inspection, no maintenance, and no control. Now, if a rental car company tried to operate their business like this, they’d be laughed out of town in a second,” Smith said.
The City of Fort Wayne gave VeoRide a permit to rent scooters under an 18-month trial period.
The city told us it doesn’t discuss pending litigation.
VeoRide has indicated it is working with city police to combat vandalism of the scooters and is hiring more staff, which is designed, in part, to enhance quality control.
Users who rent scooters must agree to release the company from liability.
It’s not clear how that might impact a lawsuit seeking damages from a scooter mishap.