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In recent years, electric scooters have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation. Electric scooters can be found in many major cities and offer pedestrians a different and fun way to travel short distances within a city. However, these electric scooters provide little safety information and can pose a danger to yourself or others if you are hit. Pedestrians may be especially vulnerable while on the street or sidewalk because they are exposed and could easily be hit by an electric scooter rider.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an electric scooter, call our pedestrian scooter accident lawyers of Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation.
Pedestrian Electric Scooter Accident Lawyers
According to TechCrunch, 45.8% of all micromobility trips – meaning transportation using small, lightweight, lower-speed vehicles – involved shared electric scooters in 2018. Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in large cities, and various new companies provide scooters for pedestrian use.
If you are involved in an electric scooter accident, a local personal injury attorney may significantly improve your chances of receiving damages. Even for injuries that may seem minor, damages could arise in the future and cause lasting harm.
Our personal injury lawyers are knowledgeable about the new and changing laws surrounding electric scooters in your city. We have experience negotiating settlements and seeking compensation from the liable party or parties.
How Common Are Pedestrian Scooter Accidents?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), most scooter injuries happen on the sidewalk rather than the street. In many cities, electric scooters are not allowed to be ridden on the sidewalk. Because of this, more injuries are caused by electric scooters hitting pedestrians than hitting motor vehicles.
Many cities have enacted legislation to restrict scooters to the roadways only and limits their use on sidewalks (IIHS). In one study, IIHS researchers interviewed over 100 electric scooter riders whose injuries led them to the emergency room in Washington, D.C. between March and November in 2019. The results of this study were that nearly three out of five scooter riders were injured on the sidewalk, where most of the time sidewalk riding was prohibited.
About 60% of electric scooter riders in the study suffered from minor injuries, while 9% were admitted to the hospital. The injures sustained by those who went to the emergency room include concussions, loss of consciousness, and skull fractures. Only 2% of riders were reported to be wearing a helmet. Forty percent of those interviewed stated that they were injured on their very first ride (IIHS).
Laws Regarding Electric Scooters and Pedestrians
Electric scooters are not only fun to ride, but their novelty, affordability, and ease of use make them especially appealing to pedestrians. The growth of electric scooters in cities has expanded so quickly that laws are struggling to keep up with them. Cities are still deciding how to regulate them and how to ensure that pedestrian riders, non-riders, and bicyclists can be safe on sidewalks or roadways together.
There is no overall law regarding electric scooters and pedestrians. Each city or state must address the issue with electric scooters on their own, so the laws will vary from location to location. Tourists that make use of scooters on vacation will be responsible for looking up and following the laws in the city they are in.
California, for example, has laws in place that electric scooters may only be used on the streets and not on sidewalks. Electric scooters must follow the speed limit and may not go over 25 miles per hour.
In Virginia, electric scooters may not go over 20 miles per hour and must weigh less than 100 pounds. Electric scooters are allowed to be ridden on sidewalks as well as roadways, but municipalities have the authority to limit or prohibit usage in certain areas.
Kentucky treats electric scooters as bicycles when it comes to traffic. Electric scooters may be used without helmets and can be operated without insurance or registration.
In Washington, D.C., scooters may not exceed 10 miles per hour, and sidewalk riding is prohibited. In a study by IIHS, electric scooters were not entirely welcome on any part of Washington, D.C.’s transportation system. Electric scooters were too slow for the bike lane but too fast for the sidewalk.
Many electric scooter companies set their own rules for use. Lime and Bird require that riders be at least 18 years old, possess a valid driver’s license, obey all traffic laws, and do not allow any passengers on their scooters. Required helmet usage also varies by city, but many scooter companies encourage wearing one.
Who is Liable when an Electric Scooter Injures a Pedestrian?
The liable party is the one that is financially responsible for the damages and injuries caused. Typically, in car accidents, each driver will usually have insurance that will cover damages to your car or the other car. However, with electric scooters, most companies do not require insurance to ride.
Some electric scooter companies, such as Lime and Spin, claim that they have no liability arising from accidents related to the use of their scooters. Some companies may require you to sign a liability waiver before you ride. Because insurance is not required, some of the damages and injuries may be your responsibility, even if you are not the liable party or the one who caused the accident.
Electric scooter accidents may be complex because there is no clear law on who is liable for an accident. Our experienced personal injury lawyers may help you identify all potentially liable parties to ensure maximum compensation for your injuries. Potentially liable parties include:
- The pedestrian (either the rider or the non-rider)
- The electric scooter company
- The electric scooter retailer or manufacturer
- The local government or city
- Drivers on the road
- Bicyclists in the bike lane
Scooter riders are provided with very little training or instruction on how to operate an electric scooter. Uber’s website provides an overview on how to use their scooters by first downloading the Uber app and following the instructions there for how to book a scooter.
Scooter riders can easily operate the scooter by walking up to any scooter and reserving the scooter through an app. Before the rider starts operating the scooter, they should be responsible by wearing a helmet and giving pedestrians the right of way. Never block roadways or ride where prohibited. Riders should consult their local government’s website for rules on where to operate a scooter and any restrictions.
Scooter riders may be liable when they hit another rider, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motor vehicle. According to one major insurance company, if the scooter rider is not paying attention or loses control of their scooter, they will likely be responsible.
According to TechCrunch, Bird was the first electric scooter company, but it was quickly followed by several other competitors. Electric scooters have faced a lot of difficulties in keeping up with varying laws on a city-by-city basis. The most popular scooter companies are:
- Lime (Lime also available through Uber)
In some instances, the scooter company may be liable for damages or injuries if the scooter was not maintained.
Cities or Construction Companies
The number of cities where scooters are available in the United States has increased from 33 cities to over 90 major cities since 2018, according to TechCrunch. With more cities having scooters available, cities may open themselves up to liability in the event of an accident.
Negligently maintained roads, debris, or obstructions in the road could be the cause of a scooter accident. According to IIHS, researchers found that electric scooter riders were twice as likely as bicyclists to get injured while riding because of a pothole or crack in the pavement. Other infrastructure like a signpost or curb could cause a rider to lose control and injure themselves or others.
Negligent pedestrians who step out in front of a rider could also be liable for damages and injuries sustained during a scooter accident. Electric scooters might not be easily visible and can sometimes be moving too quickly for others to see and avoid a collision. The electric scooter driver should make use of the bell on the scooter if available to let pedestrians on the road or sidewalk know they are approaching.
Our Pedestrian SCOOTER Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced personal injury lawyers are on the cutting-edge of this novel legal issue. We are dedicated to understanding the laws in each city and state regarding scooter and pedestrian accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to seek the best possible outcome for your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.