(Above: Image via Twitter)
A mother and her 3-month old child were struck by a scooter rider on a Hoboken sidewalk Wednesday evening. The incident occurred at 8th & Clinton. Initial reports indicated the child is ok. The mother received a bruise and slight cut on her leg.
The Hoboken Police Department, who was on the scene, tells hMAG that no complaints have yet been filed, as they’re continuing to investigate the incident. They did confirm that the driver of the scooter was a juvenile.
In the wake of the crash, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has announced that he will be ending the City’s contract with Ojo.
Overall, I believe e-scooters have been a net positive to Hoboken. However, this morning, after careful consideration and analyzing the two scooter companies over the past 3 months, I’ve made a decision to end our contract with Ojo. https://t.co/pa4p4ZhB6W
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) September 12, 2019
In a thread on social media, Bhalla claims, “Ojos technology hasn’t adapted to the needs of our community,” and that “Ojo has demonstrated an inability to provide adequate on the ground staff that a responsible e-scooter company needs to safely and effectively operate a shared scooter program.”
The announcement comes weeks after the Mayor proclaimed Hoboken would pursue a Vision Zero initiative regarding pedestrian safety.
Meanwhile Hoboken’s scooter program has seen widespread criticism since its May 20 rollout. Injuries from the scooters have been a concern in markets worldwide—underscored by a fatality in Nashville the day before Hoboken rolled out its program. Apprehension here in Hoboken became apparent on day one, and uneasiness over the program continues in the face of ongoing anecdotal and documented misuse.
Hey @RaviBhalla @KenFerrante @HobokenPD @CityofHoboken this guy literally just said “excuse me” & passed between me & 2 women on sidewalk. To top it off he was FaceTiming while driving on sidewalk. You need to get a hold of this situation! #Hoboken #limeshaming #LimeScooter #OJO pic.twitter.com/XCOeFYIIxD
— Bad Scooterists Hoboken (@BadHoboken) May 20, 2019
Stats on the scooter program show that it is indeed popular. Between the two companies, there have been 275,000+ trips, taken by 55,000+ unique riders adding up to 250,000+ miles traveled according to the latest data. Scooter advocates argue that those numbers translate to 8,000+ gallons of gas and 250,000+ lbs of CO2 saved.
But the safety issues continue to make the topic of scooters in Hoboken increasingly polarizing. The remaining pilot program with Lime is scheduled to be reviewed in November.
UPDATE—Full Statement from Mayor Bhalla (3:07 p.m.):
This morning, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla terminated the OjO electric scooter contract in the City of Hoboken. OjO, along with Lime have been the two e-scooter companies participating in Hoboken’s pilot program that commenced in May 2019. According to the terms of the contract, OjO will have 48 hours to remove all e-scooters from Hoboken. As of 3:00 pm, OjO scooters are no longer rentable in Hoboken.
“The electric scooter sharing programs have been widely popular in Hoboken, and have provided a valuable, green alternative transportation method utilized by tens-of-thousands of riders,” said Mayor Bhalla. “At the same time, the safety and well-being of our residents is my number one priority. That’s why today, after listening to the concerns of residents, and an evaluation of the OjO scooter program over the past three months, I’ve decided to terminate the contract. We expect that any transportation company, including e-scooters, provide adequate education, enforcement and adapt with the appropriate technology to safely operate on our streets. Unfortunately, this has not occurred with OjO.
My administration remains committed to sustainable transportation options, along with safe riding through the implementation of protected bike lanes. We will continue to lead in this field by working to improve all methods of transportation within our city, which includes the Lime e-scooters. I appreciate Lime’s continued efforts to improve the e-scooter sharing experience for all users and look forward to working with them to making even more improvements throughout the remainder of the pilot period.”
Since Lime and Hoboken began the pilot program in Hoboken in late May, more than 60,000 unique riders have taken over 400,000 rides. Over 17,000 users have taken at least five rides on Lime e-scooters.