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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Snag faces criticism from Bowling Green community, store operator responds

Snag+faces+criticism+from+Bowling+Green+community%2C+store+operator+responds
Andrew Kish

Bowling Green residents raised safety concerns about Snag’s scooter delivery operators and while police have noted a few incidents, Snag’s manager said he’s aware of the issue and is working on and open to improvements.

One of the main concerns worrying residents is reckless scooter users and their visibility at night.

“I am worried about the Snag drivers getting themselves into accidents or getting hit by cars,” said Bowling Green resident Christina Wilson. “On multiple occasions, I have seen them swerve in and out of traffic without looking beforehand, and majority of the time they do not use their lights at night and have no reflective clothing.”

The concerns began circulating in a community Facebook group with many people saying they’ve had close calls with the scooter operators.

“[I] had one come out the door and never even look, shot right out in front of me,” one Facebook user wrote.

This particular complaint was stated numerous times on the forum, many saying the scooters enter the road without yielding, and Wilson agreed, saying this is one of her major concerns, too.

“Mainly how they don’t look before pulling out into the streets and they will pull out right in front of a car without even looking,” she said.

As a result of these reports, residents may be wondering if any incidents have occurred.

In an October 2023 Bowling Green police report, a vehicle was stopped at a stop sign located at the intersection of East Evers Avenue and North Enterprise Street. The vehicle turned left onto North Enterprise, striking a Snag scooter operator who had the right-of-way and required lighting and headlights to be street-legal.

This is one of the very small number of documented incidents; however, there may be more.

The Bowling Green Police Department provided a list of laws the scooter operators must follow under several ordinances and the Ohio Revised Code.

Some of the laws included in §123.05 Operation Restrictions For E-scooters are:

  •  E-scooters cannot be operated on sidewalks except as permitted by Bowling Green State University
  • E-scooters cannot be operated on streets or highways with speed limits higher than 35 mph
  • E-scooters cannot exceed 20 mph
  • Riders cannot operate an E-scooter without due regard for safety, exercising reasonable and ordinary control over the device
  • Riders cannot weave or zigzag while operating an E-scooter.

Some of the laws in §123.06 Operation of E-Scooters Upon Bicycle/Pedestrian Way and Streets include:

  • E-scooters may be operated on shared bicycle/pedestrian ways, including on such shared bicycle/pedestrian ways in public parks as well as streets, and where available, in bike lanes and bike paths
  • E-scooters are to stay to the right of street lanes and to offer the right of way to bicycles in bike lanes and on bike paths
  • The Bowling Green Codified Ordinances and Ohio Revised Code pertaining to traffic law applies when operation upon any street or highway

One of the other complaints BG citizens have made is that riders weave in and out of traffic while using the scooter.

Other Facebook users made light of the situation, saying, “Hit them, save your brakes,” and, “If somebody wants to go in the road at night and I can’t see them and they make themselves an unexpected speed bump, it’s not my problem.”

Falcon Media reporter Andrew Kish reached out to the Bowling Green Snag location to seek comment on the concerns residents have.

Preston Barnes is the store operator of the Bowling Green location. He said the concerns people have are valid and understandable, and he is open to feedback.

Barnes did not shy away from openly admitting his Snag drivers have been hit a few times.

In addition, in response to residents’ concerns about scooters darting into oncoming traffic, Barnes said his scooter operators are not allowed to use the sidewalk most of the time.

“When it comes to traffic laws, we legally have to ride in the streets and we are technically not even allowed on the sidewalks,” he said. “And it’s not safe for us because we’re off East Wooster Street and a curb, so basically, they want us to hop off that curb into 40 mph traffic and try to push start our scooter, which is not smart for anybody, it just doesn’t make sense.”

He also said Snag and the BGPD have worked out agreements to grant limited access to certain sidewalks due to the posted speed limit.

He continued by saying his scooters can only travel at 18 mph on a full battery and 12 to 14 mph otherwise.

Barnes also said he is the one in charge of training the scooter operators, a process that takes around two hours and consists of training employees how to pack and deliver orders as well as operate the e-scooter.

He even said he reads every single law about e-scooters to each employee during the process.

However, he said he isn’t able to keep an eye on each driver all the time.

“I can’t babysit or look over every single one of the drivers as they do every delivery. If something comes up and I hear about something, I have to do something about it,” he said.

Barnes continued and said when he receives reports, which he admits he has, of drivers weaving in and out of traffic, potentially cutting somebody off or hitting somebody else, he has to do an investigation.

“Most of the time I know it most likely happened,” he said in regard to receiving reports about reckless scooter drivers. “So, I will brief those drivers over and over again on what we have to do and the laws we have to follow.”

However, if scooter drivers continue to operate with a disregard for others, Barnes said he has had to terminate employees.

Additionally, he said he is completely open to improvement.

“Obviously, Snag’s still new here in BG, so we are still getting acquainted with not only the residents, but the college students as well as the law portion,” he said. “We’ve had several talks with the police department about this and it’s nothing that we’re trying to work against, we’re just trying to find solutions to work with.”

As for suggestions to improve, Christina Wilson said there are a few.

“I think a proper solution for the Snag drivers would be for them to be required to wear reflective clothing and to have their lights on when they’re driving at night,” she said. “And they need to have a lesson on how to look before entering a busy street.”

In regard to proper lighting and illumination concerns, Barnes said they comply with the rules. He said the scooters have the required lighting of a front light and a rear taillight, and he has taken an additional step to add reflector tape to the scooters.

He also noted that non-compliant scooters are swapped out weekly from another university and the company only uses street-legal devices.

As for addressing complaints about visibility, he said reflective vests are on order and will be implemented when they become available.

Barnes stressed the importance of taking into consideration the complaints people have and said he is looking for ideas people may have.

“I’m always looking for how we can improve. I’m all ears,” he said.

 

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