ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – From a Fort Worth hospital room, Rachel Cortinez said her 17-year-old grandson is now able to breathe and speak on his own after being hit by a pickup Sunday evening while riding a Bird scooter.
“I didn’t think he was gonna come through,” said Cortinez. “He really, really scared us all.”
The crash took place just after 10:00 Sunday night when the boy and a group of other scooter riders were traveling north on the 900 block of Grape street. That’s when Abilene Police said he turned in front of an oncoming pickup. The boy was taken by ambulance to an Abilene hospital, but after assessing possible neurological damage Cortinez says he was careflighted to a metroplex area hospital.
While now alert and speaking, Cortinez’s grandson is still recovering from several serious injuries. Those including two skull fractures, a punctured lung, and eight broken ribs. The boy is expected to be released from the hospital at the end of this week.
“I told him no more Birds and he said, ‘okay, Grandma,” said Cortinez.
Bird issued a statement on this crash offering support to the family and claiming the company is working with local officials to improve its service.
“Our thoughts are with the individual who was impacted by the senseless collision that took place between an e-scooter rider and truck over the weekend. By partnering closely with cities we are committed to reducing the number of cars on the road which are a safety hazard to all road users and pollute our air. We are working closely with community members and Abilene law enforcement to continue to evolve the shared e-mobility program in a way that benefits all community members.”
Ronald Poston is the owner of Amber Dragon Meadery in Abilene, where he also operates an e-scooter shop selling similar scooters to Bird’s. He told KTAB/KRBC that while responsibility falls on the rider of the scooter to follow road and safety laws, it may be irresponsible for Bird to offer its rentals with seemingly little to no monitoring.
“We’ve introduced the scooter without any training, without any guidance, without any ramifications,” said Poston.
Poston is pro-scooter all around and even says Birds are a good way for those that want to purchase their own e-scooter to do some test rides. However, he said the current climate of ‘lawlessness’ from how the scooters are rented to anyone with a smartphone poses a problem for riders and Abilene drivers.
“We really need to learn how to share the road,” said Poston. “It’s not going to go away, it’s not going to change. We’ll have more and more electric vehicles out. When I see negative things come across about the bird the first thing that comes across to my mind is responsibility.”
Poston offers free training sessions on scooter riding and safety every Saturday at his shop, located at 717 Butternut Street in Abilene from 10:00 to 11:00 in the morning.