Along with ride hailing and bike sharing, electric scooters have changed the traditional urban transit landscape. But it hasn’t been without consequences. Peter Holley from the Washington Post reports that one result of the rising popularity of the scooters is a marked increase in injuries on the street.
According to Holley, companies like Bird, Lime and Skip have incrementally populated a number of cities nationwide, boosted by “massive investments from Uber, the prominent technology venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and Alphabet, Google’s parent company.”
Electric Scooter Accidents: Some of the Facts
Holley details the statistics:
In Santa Monica, California – where one of the biggest electric-scooter companies is based – the city’s fire department has responded to 34 serious accidents involving the devices this summer. The director of an emergency department there said his team treated 18 patients who were seriously injured in electric-scooter accidents during the final two weeks of July. And in San Francisco, the doctor who runs the emergency room at a major hospital said he is seeing as many as 10 severe injuries a week.
Unsurprisingly, scooter companies haven’t taken their safety liability for granted. He notes that the “big 3” companies say their apps and labels on the scooters contain basic safety information, as well as training instructions, and that at least one requires users to upload a driver’s license and confirm they’re at least 18 years old. Helmets and helmet safety tutorials are also on offer to those that request them.
Holley goes on to note some of the maintenance and repair challenges faced by the nascent electric scooter industry. These include an apparent lack of experienced mechanics, and an over-reliance on users flagging problems with the scooters.
What Options Do Potential Litigants Have?
Although he details the circumstances surrounding one man’s lawsuit against Bird, Holley says that as far as personal injury litigation surrounding use of the scooters, the options are limited:
Once injured, many riders might discover from the vehicles’ user agreements that they cannot file lawsuits because of clauses requiring that disputes be resolved by arbitration. …
Bird and Lime, the two biggest companies, require consumers to agree to not sue – either individually or as part of a class-action suit – and instead turn to a form of mediation known as “binding arbitration” as a condition of using their scooters. They both name specific arbitration companies, while Bird also names a preferred location for arbitration and Lime requires users to first engage in a 60-day “dialogue” with the company.
As injury accidents rise with the use of shared electric scooters, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated. If you or a loved one has been injured in a scooter accident and you want to find out what your options are, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation in Murrieta at (951) 489-3320 for a free consultation. We’ll do everything we can to get you the best possible outcome commensurate with your specific situation.