I-TEAM: Blind community raises safety concerns over downtown scooters

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CLEVELAND (WJW) -- Members of the blind community have turned to the FOX 8 I-TEAM and Cleveland City Hall saying the hottest new way to get around the city has become a big problem.

They are raising safety concerns about electronic scooters. In particular, they say blind people are tripping and falling over scooters left on sidewalks and in curbs cut down for the handicapped.

“People just jump off ‘em and leave em. And by us being blind, sometimes even our guide stick might miss it. Maybe you might hit it, and then maybe not," Theresa McKenney said.

Thursday a crowd packed a meeting at City Hall while the National Federation for the Blind called for something to be done.

The I-TEAM asked the Mayor’s Office what can be done. The City says they are reviewing options.

Darnell Brown said, “Lessons learned don’t just have to be what we learned. It can be what other communities have decided and done to respond to these same similar types of issues.”

At the City Hall meeting, Will Burns, a representative from Spin, one company behind the scooters, told us, the concern from the blind in Cleveland is a concern in other cities, too. He says companies can use charging stations to encourage riders to not just leave scooters anywhere or companies can block riders since they collect information about all riders every time they take scooters.

Burns said, “We can stop you from using a scooter. If they continue to park a scooter inappropriately, we can stop you from using a scooter.”

Theresa McKenney says they need to do something before someone really gets hurt.

She said, “Enforce it, yes.”

There were no immediate changes. The City allowed the scooters on the streets for a 6-month test period.  Any rule changes will likely come at the end of that early next year.

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