Should You Take a Ride on a Public Scooter?
Author: Auger Law | September 6th, 2018
- A woman in Los Angeles broke her arm in March after falling from a scooter.
- A woman at UCLA was knocked unconscious after being hit by a rider on a scooter.
- A woman encountered uneven pavement on a sidewalk in Santa Monica, falling off her scooter and breaking her arm.
Electric scooters have been in the news recently. No, they aren’t the hottest toy this holiday season, although Razor scooters are still popular among kids. These scooters are making the news because they are popping up on city streets across the United States.
From Santa Monica, California to Charlotte, North Carolina, these machines have been showing up on streets seemingly without notice. Go to bed in your urban apartment with an empty sidewalk in front of your window and you may wake up to a street lined with dozens of scooters.
Where are they coming from? It’s hard to tell which company put the first scooters out for the masses, but companies like Bird, Lime, Skip and Spin have all put their tiny vehicles on the street.
Download an app from one of the companies and you can pay for and ride a scooter for as long as you like. When you are done with your ride, simply park the scooter on the sidewalk, end your rental in the app, and walk away.
It sounds great, so what’s the problem? Injuries and liability are the issue, along with crowded city sidewalks that no one planned for. This is mainly because the scooter companies never asked for permission or waited until the use of the scooters were regulated before placing them in the excited hands of the public.
For now, the dangers are real and the companies behind the scooters are free from liability.
According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, several people in California have been seriously injured as a result of an accident involving an electric scooter. Here are just a few of the accidents detailed.
- The author of the article fell off of a scooter when a person wearing headphones didn’t hear her yelling about her presence and turned in front of her. The author went down, landing on both knees and hitting her head on the pavement. The helmet she was wearing may have saved her from further injury.
- A woman swerved on her scooter to avoid striking a toddler. She fell forward and ended up breaking bones in her right arm. Her injuries required surgical intervention to repair. She must undergo physical therapy and is fighting with her insurance to determine who will pay for her medical bills.
- A woman was walking down the street with her son when she was struck by a scooter rider. She was knocked unconscious and sustained a concussion. She was forced to miss work due to her injuries. She is considering a lawsuit against the scooter company.
- A woman was riding a scooter when she encountered uneven pavement. She was tossed off her scooter when her backpack shifted. She broke her arm near her shoulder.
So what’s the issue with liability? In essence, when a person rents a scooter from one of the companies, they are agreeing that the company cannot be held liable for any accidents they are involved in. Unless the scooter itself malfunctions and leads to an accident, the companies who rent them out cannot be held responsible for any financial damage that arises from an accident.
If a person is involved in an accident on an electric scooter they have rented, they may be able to sue the at-fault party, assuming that there is indeed someone else at fault. When the person falls off the scooter or makes an evasive maneuver that results in an accident, they may have no recourse at all.
As a Charlotte personal injury attorney, we believe it is in anyone’s best interest who decides to ride one of these electric scooters down the block or for several miles to heed a few safety tips.
- Stay Aware
Keep your eyes open and stay aware of your surroundings. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, but some can be avoided.
Watch for uneven pavement, sewer grates that can catch small wheels, and pedestrians who aren’t paying attention to you. If you know what’s coming at you, you have time to react accordingly.
- Mind Your Speed
Don’t hop on an electric scooter for the first time and think you are invincible. Scooters take practice and going too fast can put you in harm’s way.
Don’t hit top speeds until you’ve gotten a feel for the scooter and how it reacts.
- Beware of Wet Pavement
You know that your vehicle’s tires can slip when the pavement is wet, but so can a scooter’s. In fact, the small wheels on a scooter may slip and slide across wet pavement more readily than a vehicle’s tires.
Avoid riding in the rain or on wet pavement.
Our Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers are Here for You
If you are involved in a scooter accident in Charlotte, you are not without recourse. You may not be able to sue the rental company, but you may be able to seek compensation from the person responsible for your accident if it wasn’t you.
Reach out to the team at Auger and Auger for a free case evaluation. As a team of Charlotte personal injury attorneys, we know what it takes to make things right. Don’t assume that you have to absorb the financial damage caused by your accident without first speaking to our experienced attorneys.
If someone else was responsible for your accident, we believe they should be held accountable, and we will fight to make that happen.