As of September 19, 2018, e-scooter riders in California who are 18 or older are not required to wear a helmet. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that treats motorized scooters as motorized bicycles, meaning that only riders who are under the age of 18 are legally required to wear a helmet. Additionally, the bill allows cities to let scooter riders use streets with a speed limit of 35 mph. While the scooters themselves go a maximum of 15 mph, scooters in California cities may now share the road with faster-moving vehicles.
However, this bill passed within weeks of a fatal e-scooter accident in Dallas. While safety restrictions are loosening in California for scooter riders, hospitals across the countries are reporting a surge in injuries caused by scooter accidents.
Tragedy in Texas
According to The Washington Post, the unconscious body of 24-year-old Jacoby Stoneking was found on September 1, many yards from his scooter, which was broken in half. Stoneking was not wearing a helmet. While there is an ongoing investigation into the circumstances of Stoneking’s death, many wonder if a helmet could have saved his life.
So far, the scooter company, Lime, has found no evidence that the scooter malfunctioned. Lime is fully cooperating with the investigation. Uber, the ridesharing company that invested heavily in Lime, released a statement reading, “Customer safety is essential to Uber, whether for bikes, scooters or cars. As we continue working through our scooter product and Lime integration, we’re keeping safety top of mind.”
A Spike in Scooter-Related Injuries
Emergency room workers across the country have reported an increase in injuries caused by scooter accidents. One hospital in Salt Lake City states that it has seen a 161 percent increase in the number of scooter-related injuries in relation to this time last year. Many of these injuries are described as severe, including head traumas. Malfunctioning scooters, uneven surfaces, or collisions with cars or pedestrians have led to a surge in such injuries.
Dr. Sam Torbati, medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, told The Washington Post, “People seem to feel safe since [an electric scooter] looks like a recreational tool, but it comes with potential for serious injury.”
When You Need Help Collecting Compensation
If you or someone you love has been injured in a scooter-related accident and you need help understanding your legal options, Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation is ready to answer your questions. We proudly serve the communities of Murrieta and Temecula as a dedicated and effective personal injury law firm. Call our office today at (951) 489-3320 to schedule your free consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.