KENT, Ohio (WJW) — They’re a quick and easy way to get around town or campus, but they can also be very dangerous.
The US Consumer Products Safety Commission is reporting a 127% increase in injuries from “micromobility” devices like e-bikes and especially e-scooters.
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Kent State University student Colin Pho was riding an e-scooter home from work on Summit Road in Kent Aug. 22 when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
The critically-injured 22-year-old from Ashtabula was life-flighted to University Hospitals Cleveland where he clung to life until his parents arrived.
“I was just begging do not let him go, don’t let him go,” sobbed Debra Pho, Colin’s mother.
But their first born son’s injuries were too severe and the vibrant, intelligent, musician, student and gamer passed away in his parents arms.
“We held his hand, we told him ‘Colin you can let go, and we love you very much’ and he flatlined,” said Jonathan Pho, Colin’s father.
Since that tragic night, the Pho’s have grown increasingly upset every time they see an e-bike or e-scooter.
They are now calling on local leaders in areas allowing the scooters to create stricter rules and/or laws governing their usage or at a minimum to install extra street lights, signage and raise awareness.
“There’s no excuse for these accidents or deaths to occur, I mean, if they can have a sign for duck crossing they can have a sign for scooter crossing, then maybe some cars will pay attention to them,” said Pho.
Currently, the micromobility devices are mandated under Ohio Revised Code 4511.514, which limits the devices to 20 mph, and says operators must be 16 years of age or older. It also states that they are legal on public streets, sidewalks, shared-use paths and any portion of road set aside for bikes, and that headlights and reflectors are mandatory at night.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Sgt. Ray Santiago also suggests reflective vests, helmets and heads up driving.
“Anyone that’s going to be operating one of these electric scooters or electric bicycles should think of it as what it is, it’s a mode of transportation,” said Sgt. Santiago, “Comes down to a shared responsibility on the roadway, everyone needs to be alert.”
Troopers are investigating Colin’s accident and looking for the hit-and-run driver.
Colin’s parents say their son was very responsible and his scooter had lights and reflectors, but he was still hit.
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Just last week, a football player, 18-year-old Camdan McWright, was struck by a school bus and killed while trying to cross a road on an e-scooter in San Jose.
“I think one of the biggest dangers is because it’s a scooter people assume it’s not prone to being dangerous,” said Dr. Robert Hughes, Medical Director of University Hospitals System Operations and Logistics in Cleveland.
dr Hughes says their emergency rooms are also seeing a spike in injuries from micromobility devices. Even pedestrians are at risk.
In June 2021, “Gone Girl” actress Lisa Banes died after being hit by a scooter while on a sidewalk in New York City.
“We see everything from scrapes, bruises and cuts all the way up to broken bones and we’ve seen pretty severe head and neck injuries from impact when you fall particularly at higher speeds,” said Dr. Hughes.
The Pho family doesn’t want any other family to lose a loved one or suffer a loss because of micromobility devices. They plan to keep speaking out and raising awareness in Colin’s memory.
“Nobody else should have to hold their son while they die,” said Debra.
Find additional information and safety tips right here.
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