Electric scooters are a fun way to sightsee major urban landscapes or to quickly travel short distances. Companies like Bird, Lime, Skip – and more recently Uber, are swarming cities with 2-wheeled, electric vehicles that are garnering profits in the billions of dollars each advancing year. For young people, Millennials, and Baby Boomers, electric scooters are viewed as a fast and convenient way to travel that is also environmentally safe and economical efficient.
Unfortunately, taking out a two-wheeled scooter or electric bicycle without a helmet and other protective gear is the norm. This can turn an accident with potential scrapes and bruises into one with major injuries including concussions, fractures, traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, and major facial injury. Other causes of rider and public injury include:
- Scooter hardware failures
- Irresponsible riding practices
- Rush-hour and nighttime riding
- Collisions with pedestrians or structures
According to TechCrunch, “Electric scooters have caused 1,545 injuries in the U.S. since late 2017. This blog will look at the safety issues and the rise in personal injury lawsuits that are causing some cities to ban electric scooters.”
The Risks with Electric Scooters
The obvious risks of an electric scooter’s brakes failing or a pedestrian moving into the rider’s pathway can be unavoidable risks. But more often, it is the lack of rider skill that causes many accidents. Also, riding in unfamiliar areas where uneven pavement, potholes, or objects and debris in the road can easily be the cause an accident. And finally, we can’t rule out the number of young riders that willingly take more risks while riding and are more likely to leave scooters abandoned along walkways and many other unlikely places which will pose a trip hazard to the public.
It is incumbent upon the scooter rental service to regularly inspect and properly maintain all scooters made accessible to the public. When companies are not able to keep up with the increased demand and riders leaving droves of scooters away from the designated kiosk – there is a greater risk of these scooters going without inspection or repair. This will certainly increase the likelihood of mechanical failures. Expect more scooter accidents to occur on footpaths and within intersections due to unexpected mechanical failures.
What the Law Says
Personal injury claims due to an electric bicycle accident will focus on who is liable and who was negligent in causing the accident. Negligent riders that collide into pedestrians and/or property or those that have violated traffic laws such as speeding, can be held liable for damages and injuries suffered as a result of the accident.
It is also possible the company that manufactures the electric scooter or the scooter rental service provider could be held liable for an accident involving one of their vehicles. More and more, communities are looking to hold these service providers accountable for abandoned electric scooters that cause a potential hazard or are a definite neighborhood eyesore. Many vibrant, mixed retail and living communities are fighting to curb the haphazard threats that the electric scooter rental industry is causing to companies, homeowners, local businesses.