In the past decade, e-scooter companies like Bird and Lime have made scooters available to the public, mostly in bigger cities. Scooters offer an attractive method of getting around, and the convenience of picking up a scooter when you need one and then leaving it at your destination have made them rather popular. Instead of worrying about parking or locking up your bicycle, you can simply use the scooter to arrive at your destination and then turn it over to another user. However, large cities like Los Angeles are not exactly designed for people to use scooters safely. With limited bike lanes and heavy traffic, there are plenty of opportunities for scooter riders to become injured. Although a new set of regulations for electric scooters companies were put into motion last year, some city officials are still calling for a ban on scooters in the Los Angeles area.
Scooters offer a convenient and relatively cost-effective way to get around, but they have been associated with an uptick in injuries. A recent study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that nearly 250 individuals with scooter-related injuries visited emergency rooms on LA’s Westside between 2017 and 2018. Most of these injuries were sustained by the riders themselves, while only around eight percent were pedestrians who were struck by someone riding on a scooter. There are still significantly more people who suffer bicycle-related injuries than scooter injuries, but experts explain that this is likely because bicycle use is much more widespread than scooter use. Many of the injuries sustained by scooter riders are moderate to severe, as scooters seem to be more sensitive to road conditions than bikes.
A Car-Centric Landscape
Another issue with scooter use is that Los Angeles was built to accommodate cars, not pedestrians, bikes, or scooters. With its infamous traffic issues, LA makes it challenging for riders to ride safely between locations. City laws prohibit scooters from traveling on the sidewalk—those who do so may be ordered to pay a $197 fine—but traveling in the street poses its own dangers. While some avenues offer a bike lane that could be used for scooters, there is a shortage of bike lanes throughout the city. So, scooter riders must make a choice: ride on the sidewalk and risk paying a fine, or travel on the street and risk being hit by a car? Either way, scooter riders are putting pedestrians at risk or themselves at risk, no matter which option they select.
Currently, officials like City Councilmember Paul Koretz are making the case for banning scooter use citywide. Others are committed to making Los Angeles less dependent on cars by stepping up efforts to implement bike lanes and other pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Either way, people agree that there needs to be a way to make transportation safer for everyone.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and you need help pursuing the compensation you are owed, reach out to the experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys at Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation. Call us at 1-888-931-WORK (9675) to get started.