Electric scooters have taken cities across the country by storm, and local lawmakers are struggling to pass legislation fast enough to keep up with this new trend. As a result, many cities do not have sufficient laws in place to keep scooter riders, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians all safe on the road. Get the facts on the prevalence and dangers of electric scooter accidents.
The Dangers of Electric Scooters
Doctors have witnessed a sharp uptick in injuries in conjunction with the electric scooter trend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, electric scooter accidents are 35% more likely to result in a fatal accident than a car. This is because electric scooters do not offer their riders protection on any side, and electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime often do not provide safety equipment to riders.
Bird and Lime, much like other startups including Uber and Lyft, have taken the approach of asking city officials for forgiveness rather than permission. Their fleets of electric scooters seem to have appeared on many city streets overnight with little to no safety regulations surrounding them. As such, it has been unclear to drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and even scooter riders themselves as to who has right of way and when, and who would be held responsible in the event of an accident.
Bird and Lime’s disregard for safety doesn’t end there. These scooter companies have struggled to promote safety without compromising the “convenience” of hopping on a scooter at whim without having to carry around a helmet or other safety equipment. And they have done little to encourage or even support safety for their riders; in fact, Bird representatives have been urging city officials to make it legal for people to ride their scooters without helmets in an effort to further promote the convenience of their platform.
All this and more make electric scooters an incredibly dangerous method of transportation, and one that puts everyone on the sidewalks and in the road at risk of injury or even death.
Causes of Electric Scooter Accidents
The causes of electric scooter accidents can be attributed to two main factors: rider inexperience and scooter malfunction. In a report recently published by Consumer Reports, at least eight people in the United States died while using a rentable scooter from the fall of 2017 to the summer of 2019.
A Consumer Report investigation tabulated injuries from 110 hospitals in 47 U.S. cities and examined the causes of fatal electric scooter accidents. Below are details from these fatal accidents:
In March 2019, a 53-year-old man in San Diego riding an electric scooter without a helmet died when he lost control of his scooter and crashed into a tree.
In April 2019, a five-year-old boy riding with his mother in Tulsa, OK died when he fell off the scooter and hit a vehicle.
In May 2019, a 20-year-old in Atlanta died after being hit while riding an electric scooter after midnight.
In May 2019, a 26-year-old man on an electric scooter died after he was hit by an SUV.
These deaths highlight the dangers of electric scooters, particularly when riders are inexperienced or not provided with proper safety equipment.
Common Injuries Caused by Electric Scooter Accidents
Electric scooter accidents may result in a myriad of injuries for both riders and pedestrians. The following are some of the most common injuries sustained in electric scooter accidents:
Traumatic brain injuries
Cuts and abrasions
Internal organ damage
Liability in Electric Scooter Accidents
Despite the risks posed by electric scooters, all drivers and pedestrians are entitled to share the roadways in safety and harmony. When other drivers (including scooter riders) or negligent companies cause injuries related to an electric scooter, they should be held accountable. Because this is such a new phenomenon, determining liability in an electric scooter accident may be difficult, which is why it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you sort through your options.
Liability in an electric scooter accident may rest with the following parties:
The parent company that owns the electric scooter. Companies like Bird and Lime are responsible for ensuring the scooters are maintained properly and operate safely.
The rider of the electric scooter. Electric scooters are prohibited from sidewalks in St. Louis. If an electric scooter rider is riding on the sidewalk and a pedestrian gets injured, the rider may be held liable.
Motor vehicle drivers who swerved to avoid a scooter. In many cases, car drivers will cause accidents with other cars to avoid a scooter rider. Anyone involved in causing this type of accident may be held responsible for your compensation.
Injured in an Electric Scooter Accident? Contact Us Today
Our St. Louis personal injury attorneys can help protect the rights of those injured in electric scooter accidents. At Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth, we have established a strong legacy of protecting our clients against the carelessness of others, and we have won over $400 million in settlements on behalf of our clients.
We encourage you to contact us today at (800) 391-4318 to schedule a free case review.