Are Electric Scooters Dangerous?
Rent-to-ride electric scooters, or “e-scooters,” are the latest micro-mobility fad to hit New York’s busiest street corners. E-scooter rental companies, including Bird and Lyme, advertise these devices as fun, trendy, and cost-effective transportation options. However, state lawmakers and safety organizations tend to have mixed feelings about these vehicles; in fact, New York City has even banned e-scooters due to a multitude of safety concerns.
The following safety concerns have been linked to electric scooters:
- These devices are unstable by design.
- Most customers don’t know their state’s laws and regulations regarding e-scooters.
- Passersby have been known to tamper with vehicles.
- Scooterists are easy targets for distracted, speeding, and intoxicated motorists.
- Roadside clutter and uneven pavement can easily overturn a scooter.
- E-scooters lack built-in safety features, and companies don’t provide customers with helmets.
- Electric scooters are popular with young and inexperienced riders who often partake in reckless behaviors.
- Before renting a scooter, customers need to read an extensive (skimmable) liability waiver that protects the company from certain civil lawsuits.
- Drivers forget to watch out for scooterists.
- Distracted and reckless scooter riders have been known to hit parked cars and pedestrians.
Last February, a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that there were over 1,500 e-scooter injuries reported in 2018. According to the report, “Several doctors at trauma centers told CR they’ve been treating serious injuries related to e-scooters since the ride-share fleets started showing up on some city streets about a year and a half ago. For example, the emergency chief at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta estimated the emergency department has treated 360 people with injuries. Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville has seen 250 people with injuries.” Unfortunately, the “1,500 injuries” is likely an inaccurate estimate because most hospitals don’t how many injured scooterists walk through their doors.
A scooterist can sustain the following injuries and more during an accident:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Concussions and contusions
- Nasal fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Multiple bone fractures
- Neck injuries
Sarah Holder, a staff writer at CityLab, wrote “Anatomy of an Electric Scooter Crash” after she was injured by a malfunctioning electric scooter. In her article, Holder describes how she has ridden scooters with broken brakes, sticky accelerators, and faulty motors, all dangerous issues that can result in severe and even fatal injuries. She also examines how “dockless vehicles are parked on the street and subject to all manner of ill-treatment from salty passersby, which can affect whether they are safety rideable.” Another problem is that maintenance practices vary from company to company. Bird, for example, hires freelance mechanics trained by YouTube videos and online guides to fix their scooters.
Who Is Liable When an E-Scooter Accident Occurs?
Electric scooter litigation is an untested legal field with an alarmingly small body of precedent. The transportation companies have established and lobbied for legal loopholes that make it difficult to for accident survivors to obtain civil justice in a traditional sense. If you’re interested in pursuing damages after an e-scooter accident, then you’re going to need the services of an innovative, knowledgeable, and experienced personal injury attorney.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have grounds to file a claim against the following entities:
- A negligent motorist
- The e-scooter company
- The e-scooter manufacturer
- A fellow scooterist
- A business owner (premises liability)
- The city
Explore Your Legal Options Today
Contact the E-scooter accident lawyers at Flanzig & Flanzig, LLP if you or a loved one has been harmed in a collision involving an electric scooter or moped. Our legal team has been actively involved in micro-mobility legislation for the last 5 years and are well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding these vehicles. With our guidance, you can secure monetary damages that cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses.
Contact Flanzig & Flanzig, LLP at (866) 352-6944 to schedule a case evaluation.