Bird, Lime, and other electric scooter services have exploded on the scene since their introduction to Baltimore, MD city streets in July of 2018. Unfortunately, so have scooter accidents. A recent Washington Post article reported that hospital emergency rooms across the US have seen a huge spike in the number of visits related to e-scooter accidents. There have even been fatalities reported in Washington, DC, Dallas, and Cleveland, and the death rate for fatal scooter accidents is six times the rate for bicycle sharing services.
As the e-scooter craze has just turned one year old, related accident and injury claims are an emerging area of law. However, many of these cases are still governed by well-established legal rules regarding negligence, so you may have rights as a victim. An experienced Baltimore County, MD personal injury attorney can provide personalized information, but an overview on unique factors and safety tips may be helpful.
Factors That Affect E-Scooter Safety
Though there are inherent risks with any vehicle, there are some unique features that make e-scooters more dangerous.
- Riders must at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license, but there are no requirements for training or experience.
- Some municipalities have enacted regulations regarding safety and e-scooter traffic. However, operators may not know the local laws.
- E-scooters are popular among young adults and teens who generally have less experience operating motorized vehicles.
- Electric scooters are lightweight, so there is a greater impact when encountering potholes, uneven pavement, and slippery surfaces.
- Where electric scooters are permitted on designated bike lanes, operators have been known to weave in and around bicyclists.
Safety Tips for E-Scooter Riders
The most obvious recommendation is a common sense factor: Always wear a helmet, as head injuries from electric scooters are the most frequent form of trauma treated in emergency rooms. In addition:
- Thoroughly review the operator’s manual or guide provided by an e-scooter sharing company.
- Invest in additional safety gear, including elbow and knee pads, and gloves.
- Always wear long pants as opposed to shorts or skirts, and make sure the colors are highly visible.
- Do not ride in the dark unless your electric scooter is equipped with headlights.
- Never bring a passenger on an electric scooter intended for solo use.
- Make sure any load is well-balanced and not too heavy, as weight affects your stability.
- Never grab onto a motorized vehicle to gain speed.
- Follow all traffic laws that apply where you are riding. On roadways, obey signs, signals, and yield rules. Know the city regulations on proper riding in the bike lane.
Discuss Your Electric Scooter Claim with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in an electric scooter accident that was not your fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. As with any personal injury matter, you should trust a knowledgeable lawyer to protect your interests. For more information, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to set up a free consultation. We can answer your questions and explain potential legal remedies.