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City wants changes to scooter program after minors hospitalized

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - Riders and city leaders want more safety measures added to the bikeshare program in Cedar Rapids after an eight and 12-year-old boy got hit by a car Wednesday while using one of the scooters.

Police said Thursday the boys were still hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

"That's a terrible situation for everyone involved. I can't imagine going through that," Jesse Jacob said, a Cedar Rapids local.

The rideshare program is offered by Veo and is in its third year in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids Police started collecting data on scooter-related accidents in 2020, after safety concerns first arose.

Since June 2020, there have been 18 falls documented by CRPD and 14 car accidents.

"That is a lot. I didn't know the stats were that bad," Jacob said.

As part of Veo's rider agreement, no one under 18 years old can use the electric vehicles. Minors can use one of their traditional, non-electric bikes with parental supervision. However, at no point in the process of checking out a vehicle does it ask for a driver's license, birth certificate or anything else to prove your age.

This week's accident with the two young boys is making city leaders question if there are enough safety measures in place.

"City representatives will be asking the vendor to look into additional options on how to ensure riders meet the age limit, including providing the City with examples of what has proven successful in other communities," a city spokesperson told KWWL Thursday afternoon.

Veo also sent KWWL this statement:

"We are very saddened to hear of this incident. There is nothing more important to Veo than the safety of our riders. We are working closely with local officials to fully investigate the matter, and to ensure that safety measures are continually improved for Veo riders in Cedar Rapids and across all of our markets."

Veo Media Relations

While it's not clear what changes might be coming to the rideshare program, Jacob hopes they consider that some low-income adults without drivers' licenses may be using the program. So, requiring a license may not be a perfect solution.

"Most of the people using Veos aren't using them for fun. Like, you see them all around the city because people are using them to get to places," Jacob said.

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Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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