It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or in this case, his life: A 42-year-old man, Eyal Kolovich, was killed in south Tel Aviv yesterday while riding a Tel-Aviv made Trekker electric scooter. His was a red seated model resembling the ones in the picture here. We’ve been advocating the use of electric scooters for low-impact transport around Tel Aviv and thousands of them are now the transport mode of choice for Tel Aviv celebrities and yuppies.
I’d interviewed the founder of Trekker Arik Yehuda about 6 months ago, and he told me that it’s super easy to soup up the Trekker to go at speeds well above the allowable limit of 7 miles or 12 km per hour (on average they go about 18 MPH anyway), and that some models when tweaked can go much, much faster. Yehuda alleges that he has a model that can go as fast as 75 MPH in less than 15 seconds.
Well the need for speed on small electric scooters, may be the reason for the death yesterday. Eyal crashed into a parked car and then was flung from his Trekker s560 sustaining serious head injuries.
Police arriving at the scene told Haaretz: “The only vehicles of that kind allowed on the road are scooters weighing under 15 kilograms and no faster than 12 kilometers per hour. But we see a large number of such vehicles that have been illegally upgraded and improved. We have people riding them against traffic rules and without any suitable protection, which, sadly, can sometimes end as it did today.”
Currently there is no clear legislation regarding the use of electric scooters in Israel. People ride them amongst traffic without helmets, and police admit that regulating them is difficult.
A local NGO, the Or Yarok driving association said that “it’s a shame we had to see a man dying like that, and it’s a shame the Transportation Ministry avoids regulating the absolutely wild scooter market in Israel.”
It’s sad that it takes a bad accident to wake people up, but regulation is needed so that people without cars can get around the city safely. Then of course, there is always your bike (read my guide on keeping it safe by making your bike ugly); buy the Taga hybrid-bike stroller for parents, or as Green Prophet writer Hamutal Dotan prefers, her feet.
(image via Trekker website)