PITTSBURGH — This summer marks two years since Spin Scooters hit the streets in Pittsburgh.
In April, DOMI reported to City Council that they’ve had over a million rides with just 37 reported injuries and zero deaths, but we’ve learned that’s not the case.
11 News has learned a man was killed while riding one of them.
“He lived so intentionally, he really made every day count and I think that’s a big lesson everyone can take,” said Katelyn Chertik.
Chertik is remembering her older brother Larry.
“He had three big passions it was family, Steelers football, and networking, just meeting people, he thrived off of that,” Chertik said.
In late February at just 35 years old, his life was cut short.
“Around 8:30 he hopped on the scooter to get back home, and he hit a pothole,” said Chertik said.
She said the impact of the handlebars ruptured his spleen which ultimately was the cause of his death.
“Not only the scooter aspect but the pothole aspect of it I hate to say it seems silly and trivial and so stupid,” Chertik said.
While Katelyn said her brother loved the scooter pilot program, she feels they need to go.
“I feel the city partially failed us, we are a drinking city, a football city, and a pothole city. You say all you drinkers who like to have fun and party year-round have fun with these scooters,” Chertik said.
She looks at the infrastructure of the city and the dangers of the actual scooter with minimal lighting and feels it’s just not safe. City Council is talking about the scooters as the pilot program comes to an end. Because the system is self-reporting, the safety facts don’t show the full picture.
“Spin scooter is a private company and the reporting for success or otherwise of the pilot project has been left up to that private company, so you end up getting a much rosier picture,” said Barb Warwick with City Council District 5.
It’s not clear if the program will continue as the state legislature has to expand it before it ever lands in the city’s lap, but if it does Warwick said some changes need to be made.
“Things like obligatory corrals for the scooters, fines for scooters blocking the right of way, also fees for putting scooter infrastructure in our streets,” Warwick said.
But Chertik doesn’t see the city filling every pothole instead she’s hopeful by sharing her brother’s story it won’t ever come to that.
“If roles were reversed and it was me or my little brother or his niece or any of his friends I think Larry would be speaking out just so somebody else’s family doesn’t have to lose a child, a sibling, an aunt, or uncle just making people aware obviously it’s impossible to stop everyone from getting on them but if I can help people think twice about getting on one that’s what I’m going to do,” Chertik said.
If lawmakers don’t approve the state bill to extend the pilot program, the scooters will be phased out later this summer. The bill is waiting for a Senate vote.
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