Electric-powered, shareable scooters have become the latest trend to revolutionize app-based transportation services. In cities throughout the U.S., electric scooters have become increasingly popular for their availability, convenience, and ease of use by allowing consumers to rent scooters by the minute using a smart-phone application. Although these scooters have been popular, their presence in major metro areas has also been accompanied by growing concerns over potential safety issues.
As reported by the Denver Post, growing concerns over public safety have coincided with the arrival of rental scooter services offered by companies like Bird or Lime, which in particular has become known throughout Denver and other major metro areas for its similar bike share services. According to these companies and their many supporters, electric scooters are not only just a fun and convenient way to get around town, but also a part of helping cities reach goals for improving urban mobility, alleviating traffic congestion, and reducing pollution. Some, however, believe there are more pressing issues to address.
These issues, as the City of Denver and other major cities have noted, revolve around safety and the need to ensure new transportation technologies like rental scooters can provide their purported benefits without creating undue risks. In a statement released by the City of Denver, these risks have a lot to do with the proliferation of rental scooters and a lack of clear regulations to address how they should be safely used and stored. Common concerns over electric scooters include:
- Roadway and walkway hazards – Many rental electric scooters typically allow riders to “drop off” a scooter whenever there are done using them at any location. Though convenient for riders, a lack of a physical location for returning scooters, as well as a lack of clear and enforceable rules over where they can and cannot be left, can increase the likelihood that they will become hazards that pose risks of preventable injuries, particularly to occupants of motor vehicle when scooters are left on or near roadways, and to pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Auto accident risks – Allowing any consumer to unlock and use an electric rental scooter poses increased accident risks. Riders with little experience, as well as riders who don’t use them responsibly, legally, or with necessary care, may be more likely to veer into traffic or be overseen by motor vehicles, creating greater risks of auto accidents. Even when riders use scooters responsibly, they are still at risk of being involved in wrecks caused by negligent motorists. Those wrecks, due to riders have virtually no protection, have the potential to result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
- Pedestrian / bicycle accidents - Riders who use rental scooters on walkways and public spaces also pose increased risks of pedestrian and bicycle accidents, especially in congested areas and when riders are negligent or fail to safely operate their scooters.
- Liability – When accidents do occur, cities want to ensure there are clear rules regarding liability and who can be held responsible for injuries and damages suffered by victims. Similar to the issues cities faced when ride share services like Uber and Lyft first appeared, they want consumers to know when companies or negligent parties can be held accountable.
Injured in a Scooter Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving an electric rental scooter – whether as a rider, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motor vehicle occupant – our proven personal injury lawyers at Morici, Figlioli & Associates are here to help. Backed by a team of nationally recognized trial lawyers who leverage decades of collective experience, our Chicago personal injury firm is committed to protecting victims’ rights, guiding them step-by-step through the personal injury process, and fighting for the financial compensation they deserve.
Our legal team handles electric scooter accident cases throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois, as well as Colorado, California, New York, and Florida. Call (312) 372-9600 or contact us online to request a free and confidential case review.