If you spend time in most larger cities, you’ll probably see electric scooters for rent. There’s no denying their appeal. Swipe your credit card, grab a scooter, and have fun cruising the city. There are practical benefits too. Imagine shortening your commute time on a miserable day by hopping on a scooter, and speeding to your destination.
Now, they’ve become so popular that they are cropping up everywhere. Unfortunately, as more people use them, the risk of accidents and injury is going to increase. That brings up some important questions regarding liability, the law, and the risks you face if you rent an electric scooter. Keep reading to learn more about how these scooters work, and what happens if there’s an accident or injury.
What Is An Electric Scooter?
Electric scooters are offered by companies like Bird and Lime. They look and work somewhat like the kick-style Razor scooters. The difference is that they are driven by an electrical motor, and reach speeds of nearly 15 MPH. In most areas, the companies that own the scooters leave them in various areas so potential customers can spot them, and use them.
Renting a scooter is an easy task. Download the app, locate scooters near you, pay for and unlock the one you want, and ride away. Later, when you return the scooter, you’ll be charged for time and mileage. This can vary from company to company.
Risk Of Injuries When Using An Electric Scooter
Because electric scooter rentals are relatively new, there’s not much data on injuries overall. However, it’s clear that people do get injured while riding these. Worse, because they travel at a relatively high rate of speed, there’s potential for these injuries to be serious. Lax safety gear regulations, inexperience, and lack of awareness from other drivers are also contributing factors. Electric scooters are often rented impulsively by people who aren’t equipped with helmets, and who may have never ridden them before.
Are There Any Laws On Electric Scooters?
At a federal level, the answer is no. Many cities have enacted laws to help contribute to better safety and to prevent scooters from becoming a nuisance. Of course, these aren’t consistent. When it comes to state scooter laws, some are quite restrictive, others have no regulations at all. Generally, scooter riders are expected to stay off of sidewalks, and obey the rules of the road.
Who Is Responsible For An Electric Scooter Accident?
This depends. If a driver hits a scooter rider with their car, they may be held responsible if they were negligent in doing so. Likewise, if a scooter rider hits a car, they will likely be held accountable for their own injuries and property damage, as well as the drivers.
What if someone on a scooter causes an accident between other cars? This may occur if a scooter cuts off a vehicle or otherwise makes the driver swerve into traffic. In that case, the person driving the scooter is liable.
Will Insurance Cover Damage Or Injuries?
This depends. Some cities mandate that scooter companies carry liability coverage, but there are no laws dictating this. In most cases, you are not insured when you rent a scooter. Riders may even have to sign a liability waiver. In most cases, riders won’t be covered by their car insurance or homeowners policies either.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured Or In An Accident?
If you are involved in an incident with an electric scooter, remain calm. Obtain medical treatment. Seek qualified advice from John Flood Trial Lawyers, be courteous and cooperative with anyone else involved. Take pictures of the accident scene if you are able to.
Final Thoughts: Safety is The Best Prevention. Be polite and courteous when dealing with the scooter company, other drivers, or anyone else involved.
The best way to prevent accidents or injury is to be careful. Reconsider renting scooters spontaneously. Instead, plan your outings, and wear proper safety equipment. Research city ordinances on electric scooters and follow them. Be alert, and drive defensively. Keep in mind that whether you are liable or not, your risk of injury is much higher in a scooter vs. automobile accident.