Following a car-scooter crash that injured Maryland football player Pete DeSouza on the University of Maryland campus, some people are asking whether the increase in scooter use on college campuses could lead to an increase in injury accidents among university students. As Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyers, we would also ask if the savings in time getting from one side of school to other is worth the added risk to life and limb.
According to news reports, DeSouza suffered severe injuries as a result of a traffic accident last fall caused when a passenger car turned directly in front of the 310-pound offensive lineman’s scooter. Based on reports, DeSouza was headed back from study hall on the evening of October when the crash occurred, resulting in the man receiving two broken legs, which required numerous surgeries that will likely lay him up for six months or more.
It appears that DeSouza could have suffered other, more severe injuries to his head or brain had the backpack he was wearing not protected his head from direct impact with the pavement after he was thrown from the scooter that evening. Following the accident, the University Senate began debate on whether or not scooter riders be required to wear helmets when traveling on campus — right now, helmets are not required for those who rider scooters on public roads.
Crashes like DeSouza’s can result in tragic results. Serious spinal damage as well as traumatic brain injury are relatively common in scooter, bicycle and motorcycle traffic accidents. Because most other motor vehicle are larger and heavier than a tiny scooter, it is not uncommon to see a rider killed during a severe car crash.
The argument for using scooters would seem to have many supporters, at least on the University of Maryland campus, which occupies more than 1,200 acres. For a student like DeSousa, a cross-campus walk takes about 15 or 20 minutes; taking a scooter cuts that transit time down to about six minutes. As many have said, for those students who already have tight schedules and extra 15 minutes here or there would be welcome for any number of tasks, like study, eating or catching up on notes with other classmates.
Efficiency and economy are big draws, but the “cool” factor is another significant appeal of these small-displacement motor scooters. With some scooters selling at around $600 for a base model, college administrators around the country claim that these cheap modes of transport are now popping up like weeds on campuses all over.
Maryland football player Pete DeSouza’s scooter accident raises safety concerns on college campuses, WashingtonPost.com, November 5, 2010