By: Manibog Law PC
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Electric Scooters Are Coming: Are They Safe?
Pasadena has not yet approved electric scooters, but Altadena has okayed them. They are also showing up in East Pasadena. There are as many as 17,000 e-scooters on the streets of Los Angeles. Electric scooters provide a faster and fun way to get around, and they give off far less emissions than the average vehicle, but they certainly have risks as well.
The scooters are unlocked and accessed with a smartphone app, which means that they are handy, but they can also be dangerous. Riders can leave them anywhere, including in streets and in the middle of the sidewalk. This policy is unlike rental bikes that have their own designated docking stations when users are finished with them. When riders are not cautious, the scooters can cause accidents even when there is no rider on them.
No Electric Scooters in Pasadena
Pasadena is currently in a “no ride” zone. There is a geofence around the city so that those with the scooters cannot ride them within city limits. Pasadena is considering a pilot program that includes a few scooters so the City can develop regulations that will work well for citizens within city limits. Regulations will hopefully cut down on the number of accidents that might occur due to misuse.
Earlier this year, Pasadena removed itself from the Metro Bike Share program, which means that having the electric scooters could fill a void for transportation that the City is lacking. However, the City’s priority seems to be safety. They may consider passing laws that require helmets and limit riding on sidewalks, which may decrease the likelihood of accidents throughout Pasadena.
Safety Concerns of Electric Scooters
Broken bones, head injuries, facial fractures, and losing teeth can all be caused by an electric scooter accident. In Santa Monica, 18 serious injuries were reported by the Fire Department over just a two-week period in July 2018. As of mid-November, at least two people have been killed while riding on electric scooters.
These scooters can move up to 15 miles per hour. In comparison, one study regarding the speed of bicycles in traffic was about 11 or 12 miles per hour. That means that someone riding a scooter is often moving much faster than a bicyclist, which may be unexpected for those in traffic. It can also be a shock to a novice rider as well, especially children.
Drivers may not be on the lookout for those on scooters either. When a driver does not pay attention to these quick-moving vehicles, it can lead to severe accidents.
While helmets are often not required, having a helmet can mean the difference between a minor bump and a traumatic brain injury. If you are considering riding a scooter, it is a good idea to have the proper gear, including a helmet.
Legal Complications of Electric Scooters
When an accident occurs, the legal consequences are somewhat new as well. In many cases, the person on the scooter may not have proper control, and that can create legal responsibility. A vehicle can hit an e-scooter driver, a pedestrian or bicyclist can be hit by a scooter, pedestrians can trip over abandoned scooters, or a malfunctioning e-scooter can cause a crash. If someone is injured in a scenario involving a scooter, the liability will likely fall to the negligent party.
But, these vehicles are rentals—which means that the company that is renting the scooter might be liable as well. For instance, was there a warning about how fast the scooter can go? Should there have been? What about providing instructions on how to take turns or using safety gear? These questions are likely to come up in the legal context relatively quickly, but we don’t have any answers yet.
One big caveat is that scooter riders are not yet required to carry liability insurance. That potentially creates a big problem by persons injured by a negligent e-scooter rider.
If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury due to an accident with an electric scooter, you may have legal options. Manibog Law will provide a free case evaluation to determine what your rights are and help you decide what you should do next. Call today: 1-800-MANIBOG.