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Gridlock Guy: The good and the bad of the new scooter rules
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Gridlock Guy: The good and the bad of the new scooter rules

Only one rider will be allowed on the scooters and you will not be able to use a cellphone while riding them.

Gridlock Guy: The good and the bad of the new scooter rules

This may be a niche topic, but electric scooters were in the headlines last week in Atlanta. The Atlanta City Council passed new regulations on the scooters, adding both some structure and complication to this easy and unilateral mode of transport.

» RELATED: Atlanta City Council lays down law on scooters

Pending Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ signature on the ordinance, riders will now no longer be able to ride on sidewalks or go above 15 mph. They also have to limit per-scooter-ridership to one person and cannot use cellular devices while operating the scooters.

Scooter companies like Bird, Lime, and JUMP will also have to pay at least $12,000 per year in permit fees to the city. No one should be surprised that the city wants a cut of this burgeoning industry.

The most disruptive part of the new set of rules is the requirement for scooters to stay off of pedestrian sidewalks. They can still use bike lanes and multi-use paths like the BeltLine. But forcing riders without helmets to putter along the side of the road, right next to traffic, and without helmets seems like a recipe for injuries.

Riders partially have themselves to thank for this.

There have been quite a few complaints about inconsiderate scooter riders putting those on foot in danger by zooming close by or running into them. This sounds similar to skiers’ complaints about snowboarders doing just the same on the slopes (guilty). A speed disparity and a recklessness create the need for separate lanes.

» RELATED: Uber joins e-scooter war in Atlanta

This newest transportation fad sees riders in a layer between cyclists and walkers. They can go quite a bit faster than pedestrians, but not as fast as bicycles. So Atlanta has moved scooters to the few bicycle lanes the city has. But cyclists are more committed to their longer trips and can go faster than the flippant, on-off scooter riders. That coexistence just doesn’t seem smooth.

Scooter-riders, this ordinance should be a wake up call about an aspect of this technology that you love. The most charming part about scooting is how disposable using one can be. But you need to start treating scooter-riding as you would driving a car. You need to be considerate of those around you (on the roads and sidewalks). And you need to be extra-alert, as your foot-shuffling will now be often in shared lanes with automobiles.

The city ordinance didn’t address the problem of scooters being left in random places all over. If users continue to leave their small, rented rides haphazardly on sidewalks, rules on that are sure to follow.

The new Atlanta electric scooter rules seem to mean well and should help keep pedestrians safer. But with scooters now closer to traffic and with riders not wearing helmets, there could be some major problems. Another transportation mode is well entrenched among us - heads-up. 

» RELATED: Athens mulls law banning electric scooters as hundreds are impounded

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.

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  • Police asked for the public's help Tuesday identifying a suspect wanted after a retired administrator was stabbed to death Monday on a college campus in Southern California. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said they found the victim, identified as Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, with several stab wounds in a parking lot on the California State University, Fullerton, campus just before 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police said he was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators asked for help locating the suspect, described as an Asian man with black hair in his mid-20s. Police said he wore a black windbreaker and black pants at the time of the attack. Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20: Police released a sketch Tuesday of the man suspected of stabbing 57-year-old Steven Shek Keung Chan to death one day earlier in a parking lot at Cal State Fullerton. Authorities said the man was last seen running northbound on Langsdorf Drive and then eastbound on Nutwood Avenue. Police believe he might have been injured in the attack and might have lacerations to one or both of his hands. Police said officers recovered a backpack which they believe belonged to the suspect during their investigation. It was found under Chen's vehicle and contained 'an incendiary device along with numerous items that were consistent with a kidnapping attempt or plot, including zip ties, wigs and other disguise materials,' police said. The bag also contained a knife separate from the one used in Monday's attack, according to authorities. Police believe Chan, who recently returned to the school as a special consultant after retiring as an administrator in 2017, was specifically targeted in the attack, according to authorities and the Los Angeles Times. Police continue to investigate. Original report: Authorities are searching for a suspect after a retired administrator was stabbed and killed Monday on a Southern California college campus. According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities said Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, of Hacienda Heights, had several stab wounds when police found him in his car, which was parked in a lot on California State University's Fullerton campus, about 8:30 a.m. Monday. Police also discovered an 'incendiary device,' which did not go off, nearby, the newspaper reported. Police believe the assailant specifically targeted Chan, who recently returned as a special consultant after retiring as director of budget and finance and student services for extended education in 2017, the Times reported. In a tweet, university police described the suspect, who reportedly fled the scene and was still on the run late Monday, as an Asian man in his mid-20s with black hair. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt, authorities said. No further information was immediately available. In a letter to students, faculty and staff, university President Framroze Virjee called the attack 'tragic and senseless.' 'As the investigation into Steven’s death is ongoing, we are unable to provide information beyond what the Fullerton Police share publicly,' the letter read. 'What I can do, however, is join all of you in adding to the tremendous outreach of love and support that has already embraced our Titan Family during this tragic and difficult time. That begins with pausing in thought and prayer for Steven, his family, and all Titans who are grieving and grappling with the reality of such an unspeakable act and tragic loss in our community.' >> Read the full letter here Read more here.
  • The Coast Guard is searching for two boaters who didn't return from a fishing trip Friday evening off the coast of Port Canaveral, Florida. >> Read more trending news  Brian McCluney and Justin Walker were last seen leaving the 300 Christopher Columbus boat ramp Friday in a 24-foot center console boat heading toward 8A Reef. McCluney is a firefighter with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and Wilcox is a master technician with the Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire and Rescue Department. Update 12:35 p.m. EDT Aug. 20: Officials with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said they will cover about 12,600 miles Tuesday in their search for two missing firefighters. On Tuesday, 10 aircraft and several boats were surveying the area with the help of law enforcement, fire and rescue officials and civilians, WJAX-TV reported. Crews focused on searching the area where a tackle bag belonging to one of the missing men was found Monday. Update 10:50 a.m. EDT Aug. 20: The wife of one of the boaters missing since Friday morning took her search efforts into the air Tuesday, WFTV reported. Natasha Walker caught a private flight from the Titusville airport to help comb the Florida coastline as the search continues for her husband, Justin Walker, and his friend, Brian McCluney. 'They know that we want them to keep fighting,' Natasha Walker told WFTV before boarding the plane. The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday afternoon that⁩ a volunteer found a tackle bag belonging to Brian McCluney about 50 miles off the coast of St. Augustine. 'This is still absolutely a rescue mission,' Jacksonville fire Chief Keith Powers said Monday at a news conference. 'We're talking about a decorated combat vet here. We're talking about a firefighter paramedic. These guys have the skills ... to survive for a long time.' Kevin McCluney, the brother of Brian McCluney, told WFTV that if any people were resourceful enough to survive, it would be these two men. 'Between the two of them, I know they've got it locked down,' Kevin McCluney said. 'It's just a matter of time.' Brian McCluney's wife, Stephanie McCluney, told WFTV he underwent survival training during his time in the U.S. Navy and that Justin Walker is one of the most resourceful men she knows. 'If I were ever stranded anywhere, those were the two men I'd want to be stuck with,' she said. Coast Guard officials continued to search for the McCluney and Walker on Tuesday. Update 6:44 a.m. EDT Aug. 20: The search for two missing firefighters will continue Tuesday morning, authorities said. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is calling on anyone who would like to help with the search and has the following items: A boat that can work in the range of 30-60 miles Binoculars A SAT phone (which is short for a satellite telephone. It’s a type of phone that connects to other phones by radio, orbiting through satellites.) Update 3:10 p.m. EDT Aug. 19: McCluney's wife said in a post on Facebook that her husband's tackle bag was found 50 miles off the shore of St. Augustine, WJAX-TV reported. The search for McCluney and his friend, Wilcox, continued Monday. Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Aug. 19: Officials with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said over 135 people assisted Monday with the search for McCluney and Walker. There were 36 boats searching from Brunswick, Georgia, to St. Augustine, Florida, on Monday, officials said. Searching for the missing boaters will continue until dark, JFRD officials said. Agency officials stressed Monday that the search was still a rescue mission. The missing men were raised on the water, according to JFRD. 'We're talking about a decorated combat vet here. We're talking about a firefighter paramedic. These guys have the skills,' a JFRD official said Monday at a news conference. 'These guys have the skills to survive for a long time.' Update 9:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 19: Authorities and volunteers continued to search Monday for McCluney and Walker. Coast Guard officials said Monday that crews have searched an estimated 24,000 miles since Friday. Authorities said they continued to search Monday from Port Canaveral up to Jacksonville. Officials with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department urged people in the area to contact authorities 'if you see something ... any debris, anything.' McCluney is a Jacksonville firefighter and Wilcox is a master technician with the Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire and Rescue Department. Update 3:10 p.m. EDT Aug. 18: Multiple agencies have joined the search, On Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard said crews are investigating reports of a debris field 50 miles east of St. Augustine, Florida, WJAX reported. However, they have confirmed it's not related to the missing boaters. Earlier Sunday, Stephanie Young McCluney, the wife of one of the missing men, thanked the efforts of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department in a Facebook post. According to a tweet from the agency, 50 firefighters were assisting the Coast Guard with the search. The Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters has also set up a link for those wanting to help with search efforts.  'The donations will support the search efforts and ultimately the families of the firefighters,' according to the Jacksonville Firefighter Charities donation page. 'Thank you so much for your support and prayers!' Original report: In a Facebook post Saturday, McCluney's wife said the Coast Guard has suspended the air search until Sunday morning but will continue to search by boat and radar overnight. According to Stephanie McCluney's post, the search area will move north as the Coast Guard continues to survey the coast off Volusia County throughout the night. According to the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, McCluney is a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighter from Station 31 near Oak Hill Park. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said in a Facebook post that Walker is a master technician at the Virginia fire department near Washington, D.C. The Coast Guard had deployed a search plane and several boats to look for the overdue boaters. The Navy and Brevard County Sheriff's Office are assisting with the search. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Command Center at 904-714-7558. The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • Although they never publicly confirmed their relationship, reports say actress Katie Holmes and actor, singer and comedian Jamie Foxx have broken up. They were rumored to have been dating for six years. Page Six was the first to report the split, and E! News and People confirmed the news through unnamed sources close to the stars. >> Read more trending news  E! News reported that the breakup news came days after paparazzi captured Foxx leaving Lil Pump's 19th birthday in Los Angeles holding hands with a singer named Sela Vave.  An unnamed source told People Vave is 'just a girl he's helping out, a young singer.' A series of photos posted by Vave on Instagram in June shows her posing with Foxx. 'I am so grateful to this man! Thank you so much @iamjamiefoxx for everything you do and for believing in me,' the caption read. In 2015, Us Weekly reported that Holmes and Foxx had been secretly dating for two years and were photographed holding hands at a music studio in February of that year. After six years of dating, the couple posed together for the first time at a public event at the Met Gala in May. Before then, they were seen arriving separately at the same locations, including a family dinner in New York. They never publicly commented on the relationship, and they were only confirmed as an item when paparazzi photos captured them on a yacht in Miami in December. 
  • Planned Parenthood announced Monday that it would be withdrawing from a federal program that provided millions of dollars to subsidize reproductive health care because a new rule imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services would ban it from referring clients to abortion providers. >> Read more trending news  The organization, which is the largest abortion provider in the United States, said it would not comply with the rules that banned it from referring clients for abortions and additional rules that require both financial and physical separation between facilities funded by Title X and facilities where abortions are performed. The decision means that Planned Parenthood, which serves 40% of all Title X patients, will lose millions of dollars of federal funding. What is Title X and what does the change mean for abortion providers? Here’s a look at the funding program and the new rule change. What is Title X? Title X is a grant program created in 1970 and administered by HHS. Its mandate is to provide comprehensive family planning services and preventative health services. The program funds facilities that provide care to lower-income families. What services are provided under Title X? These services are available to women under Title X: Birth controlContraception counselingBreast and cervical cancer screeningsTesting and treatment for sexually transmitted infectionsPregnancy diagnosis and counseling Can men get services through Title X? Title X also provides services for men who qualify under the program’s rules. Those services include: Education and counselingCondomsSTD testing and treatmentHIV testingIn some cases, vasectomy services  Who is eligible for services at a Title X-funded facility?  The program is aimed at low-income families. It is implemented through grants to more than 3,500 clinical sites. Those sites include public health departments and non-profit facilities such as Planned Parenthood. What is the budget for Title X? In fiscal year 2017, Title X received $286.5 million in funding. How many people are helped through Title X? According to HHS, around 6.2 million people – mostly young, female and low income – are served by Title X funds. It is estimated that 20 million qualify for the program. How many Title X sites are there in the U.S.? There are 4,000 Title X service sites in the U.S. Planned Parenthood represents fewer than 400 of those sites. What does the new rule say?  The first part of the new rule prohibits health care providers serving in Title X-funded institutions from referring patients for abortions. The second part of the rule requires that health care facilities funded by Title X be financially and physically separated from facilities where abortions are performed. When does the new rule go into effect? The part of the rule about referring patients for abortion care went into effect on July 11. The part of the rule on physical separation goes into effect on March 4, 2020.  The rule is being challenged in federal court by more than 20 states, Planned Parenthood and other groups affected by the change. What did Planned Parenthood choose to do in relation to the new rule?  Planned Parenthood made the choice to give up Title X funding in exchange for continuing to refer clients for abortions. The decision means they give up about $60 million in Title X funds. Does that mean Planned Parenthood no longer receives federal funds? No. Planned Parenthood still gets funding from Medicaid, the government health care program for low-income families. Planned Parenthood receives around $500 million per year from Medicaid according to its 2017-18 annual report.
  • If you have a horse you're willing to donate, Pennsylvania State Police want to talk to you. The horse must stand between 16 and 18 hands tall and be a draft or draft-cross breed. Pennsylvania State Police are asking for donations of horses to support mounted patrol units, which utilize animals deployed for security, patrol, searches and crowd control. >> Read more trending news  Once your horse retires, you are able to get your horse back. To arrange a donation, or for more information, contact Corporal Carrie Neidgigh at 717-533-3463.
  • A Nebraska teenager paid tribute to her late father through her high school senior pictures. >> Read more trending news  Julia Yllescas, a senior at Aurora High School, wanted her father to be a part of her senior pictures. Her father, Capt. Robert Yllescas, died Dec. 1, 2008, in Bethesda, Maryland, from injuries he received from an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. Yllescas had her senior pictures taken Saturday and sent them to photographer Susanne Beckmann to see if she could create an 'angel picture,' KOLN reported. Julie Yllescas loved the first two photographs that Beckmann worked on, They show her sitting and standing next to a faint shadow of her father in uniform, the radio station reported. 'Why it has hit my heart so hard is that I almost felt when I saw those pictures that he truly was there,” Yllescas told KOLN. 'And to have a piece of him with me throughout my senior year. Because sometimes it feels like where are you, why did you have to go.' Beckmann, whose husband has served in the Nebraska National Guard for 16 years, was only too happy to create the images. 'I was teary-eyed when I was editing them,' Beckmann told KOLN. 'All I could think in my head is I don't ever want to have to do this for my own kids.' Beckmann, who has run Snapshots by Suz for eight years, said she has known the Yllescas family since Julia was 9.  'I thought it would be a great idea to do these angel pictures for her as a special gift for her big milestone and to her family,' Beckmann told Cox Media Group by telephone Tuesday morning. 'I am an active duty National Guard wife, which is what inspired the idea and the vision. 'I take a lot of pictures of military families and it is always an honor for me to capture their special memories.' The photographs that include her father are a comfort for Yllescas 'Just to have that on my wall and be like, 'No, he is with me,' even though I can't physically see him,” she told KOLN.