E-scooters were supposed to make the trip in Rome. Then they become ‘death traps’

Rome (CNN) – Rome, the eternal city, has been attacked, captured and plundered many times since its founding about 2,800 years ago. Every attack was staged in the city, from the ruins of the Roman Empire to the cave of the Circus Maximus where the chariots drove.

Humiliation now leaves residents angry, eating what is often thought to be a pleasure in what is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The Italian capital’s current onslaught of e -scooters – more than 14,000 of them – is new cars blocking highways, threatening motorists and killing them.

Since rental scooters were introduced three years ago as an alternative to public transport during the Covid epidemic, four people have died while riding them, according to Rome City Hall councilor Eugenio Patane. City emergency departments treat at least one serious injury related to a scooter every three days, health officials said.

And only 2% (about 270) of foot scooters for rent are used daily.

Rome City Hall has licensed seven companies responsible for changing tables, doing repairs, moving scooters to major parking lots and fishing for them from the city’s Tiber River.

Unused scooters are showing the greatest difficulty, especially those with disabilities.

‘There are fears’

Officials say only 2% of the 14,000 rental scooters in Rome are in use.

Officials say only 2% of the 14,000 rental scooters in Rome are in use.

Lorenzo Di Cola / NurPhoto / Getty Images

While Giuliano Frittelli, head of the Italian Union for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was driving with his cane on a half -dozen scooters that lay on the sidewalk near his office in the city center, he said. to CNN for those who don’t know, they’re a death trap.

“The first problem is the wild car,” Frittelli said while tapping his stick on the base of a scooter, explaining that their uniqueness is also easy on people with blind spots. to walk upon them.

He said, because they are lightning, they are silent, and a threat to those who do not know.

“You don’t hear them so you can’t drive around them,” Frittelli said, recalling an incident when a scooter passed a nearby blind man who jumped out of the car. they were dogs that saw fear on the side, because it was called a “lizard. of fear” The physical pain did not end.

Frittelli’s company is working with Roma City Hall to make the scooters available to stores only. He wanted them to be converted to make a noise level of at least 30 decibels that could serve as a guide for them to travel.

He said it was not just the disabled, including those in wheelchairs, who were struggling to use the roads when the roads were littered with scooters. Older people and parents driving baby strollers are also affected.

Giuliano Frittelli

Giuliano Frittelli, left, wants scooters parked in designated areas.


Eugenio Patanè, councilor of the city of Rome, agreed. He told CNN on January 1, 2023, the city would change the permit for only 9,000 scooters and reduce the number of companies allowed to hire them to three.

He said the city is planning to require a percentage of scooters to be installed in schools and other places that ordinary citizens can use because he called “the last mile ”can take them from a train station to their destination. or allow them to run fast without jumping in a car.

“They are a problem for the people, but they are also a problem for the city, for the beauty of the city,” Patanè said. “The city center is a UNESCO heritage site and it is very fragile and we need to take care of it.”

Leave the rules

A tourist recently threw a scooter down the Spanish Steps.

A tourist recently threw a scooter down the Spanish Steps.

Makai Roma Capitale

In early June, two Americans were fined about $ 800 for throwing rental scooters under Spanish steps, injuring about $ 26,000 in damage to the soft marble. The incident was captured by security cameras and passersby who saw some of the spectators throwing a heavy metal scooter, catching the sound of falling down the stairs.

E-scooters are widely used by tourists and young people, Patanè said.

And the rules aren’t always followed, more people are banning use on the roads and restricting passengers to one person. Tenants are expected to be 18 years old. And the city can’t require rental companies to provide helmets, which means few people use them.

Police do not often check and do not receive compensation for scooter users who break the basic rules because it is difficult to enforce the no road rule when scooters are constantly parked on the road. trails.

They are seen as popular with tourists. “Drive around, that’s the historic center where there’s no car access, that is,” Walter Hughes, from Dallas, Texas, told CNN.

“For that [two- or three-mile radius] you run fast around, you don’t look for a car, it’s too hot to go for five hours, that’s why. ”

Not everyone agrees.

Motorcycles that have been woven between pedestrians and mopeds for years say e-scooters are a huge problem.

Eduardo Conticello had many accidents with his car and wanted to see the scooters destroyed.

He told CNN they would often stand in front of him or fall. “When I see them, I drive very slowly,” he explains, adding time to his travels, which means his passengers pay for them. “They’re so awesome.”

But life in the eternal city has not been so easy in its 2,800 years. Rome was not built in a day, as they say. And her problems will not end all at once.

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