On the eve of November 20th, Nelson Miranda Gomez, age 16, was struck by a tow truck at an intersection while riding an e-scooter through Elizabeth around 8 pm. The tow truck stayed on the scene as Gomez was rushed to Trinitas Regional Medical Center. Unfortunately, the teenager succumbed to his injuries after the e-scooter accident and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The city of Elizabeth, NJ just began its e-scooter share program with the company Lime at the beginning of the month. As the third municipality in New Jersey to do so, Elizabeth joins the likes of Hoboken and Jersey City in adopting E-scooter laws. Elizabeth’s program charges $1 to unlock the scooter and $0.20 per minute of usage. The 400 scooters are GPS-enabled, allowing riders to use their smartphones to locate the e-scooters. The six-month pilot program is meant to reduce traffic, aid commuters in transportation, and avoid parking issues. Lime, the transportation company, has three vans stationed throughout Elizabeth to upkeep the scooters. They are rebalanced and moved every night to areas where they are needed most.
Lime’s company policy does not allow people under the age of 18 to ride a scooter. Despite this rule, Elizabeth residents have said they often see kids using the scooters. After the 16-year-old’s death, the mayor of Elizabeth said they would examine the limits of their partnership with Lime. The tragedy of the teenager’s death has sparked numerous conversations about the safety of e-scooters. The city may have police officers patrolling the streets on the scooters, yet residents feel that the lack of bike lanes and busy streets pose a significant risk to riders, thus leading to more e-scooter accidents.
No charges have been filed against the tow truck driver as the accident is currently under investigation.
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