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Fatal scooter crash is part of two larger statewide problems

Posted: 3:26 PM, Aug 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-21 17:21:46-04

The fatal electric scooter versus car accident that happened over the weekend is an example of two growing problems in Ohio — drugged driving and pedestrian fatalities. 

Both are concerning, especially as more and more people choose to walk or ride to get around. 

Lieutenant Rob Gable with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said deaths involving pedestrians are up this year. 

"So far in 2018, approximately 30 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians. They're people that aren't in cars and that's a high number. That's something we are very concerned about," Gable said. 

Gable said incidents involving people using drugs and driving are also on the rise. 

"All of the drugs that impair are a concern for us, as they should be for anyone on the roadway without the protections of a car," he said.

An example of both happened this past weekend in a single incident; a young woman on a scooter lost her life after a man, impaired by heroin, hit her. The man accused, Scott McHugh, 19, told police he snorted the drug just before ramming into her from behind.

"To hit a pedestrian, whether they were on a bike or a scooter downtown, is quite disturbing," Jacob Vansickle of Bike Cleveland said. "As a bike advocate, it makes me angry. We've worked for years to advocate for safer streets downtown specifically."

Vansickle also said he hopes this most recent incident spurs change.

"We pray that the city sees this as a call to action to really build our city to be a place where people can bike or walk safely," Vansickle said.

But what can we do to curb the problems putting all of us at risk?

First, and most obvious, follow the rules of the road. Bikes and scooters have to be in the street and, drivers have to share it. 

Gable said drivers have to give a rider at least three-feet distance. If they don't, there could be consequences.

"It could be a traffic ticket. It could be a warning," he said. 

For those who choose alternative modes of transportation to cars, Gable said to remember that you're vulnerable.

"Keep in mind, whether you have a legal right to be where you are or not, you don't have the protections a car has, so you need to be visible. Wear bright clothing so people can see you," Gable said. 

When it comes to drugged driving, you can't control who is on the road with you. Gable said you can make a difference by putting away your own distractions and staying vigilant, whether you're a driver or pedestrian.

"Make sure you're aware. Don't take for granted that everyone is going to do the right thing. Drive or ride or walk defensively," Gable said.