Texas School for the Blind petitions dockless scooters asking riders to be mindful

Angela Wolf listens and feels her way around the busy streets of Austin. It's not too difficult as long as you pay attention, she says as she uses her cane to tap on nearby telephone poles along 45th street.

A lesson she teaches children at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

"In Austin because there is pedestrians and bicyclists and now scooters. I think you kind of keep an eye out for those things,” Wolf said. "Sometimes your cane can get stuck inside the wheel part or the handle bars or whatever part is in the way. So it's definitely an annoying inconvenience.”

The sudden influx of electronic dockless scooters can be seen all throughout the city. Riders can reach speeds up to 15-miles per hour and are expected to follow the same safety regulations as bicyclists, but that's not always the case.

Gail Avey, TSBVI Orientation and Mobility Specialist experienced this firsthand as she was working with a student trying to navigate his way around the University of Texas at Austin when a scooter rider nearly hit him. "Instead of waiting when the light turned red and waiting for the appropriate time for him to continue crossing he cut in front of my student almost hitting his cane and continued onto the sidewalk on to Guadalupe St,” Avey said. "The scooters seem really fun and it seems like a really quick way to get around but you need to be cautious as if you were in a bike or in a car."

The City of Austin has more than 5-thousand scooters.

TSBVI Orientation and Mobility Specialist said she sees the scooters thrown in walkways and parked in front of bus stops becoming not only an eye-sore but an obstacle.

"The people who are riding these scooters will just throw them anywhere just to get off and go to their destinations and it's so unsafe," Provost said

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is petitioning the city asking riders to be more mindful behind the bar handle. More than a hundred people have signed the petition. The school is also working with the city in developing ordinances to make the streets a safer place for everyone and hope scooter companies will jump on board.

People can call 311 if there is a scooter parked where it shouldn't be.

Some scooters also have a number people can call to get them removed.



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