Social scooters have swooped into many cities overnight, creating a fair bit of havoc along the way. Companies like Lime, Bird, Scoot, Skip and Spin promise cheap rides and a reduction in traffic congestion. However, local healthcare workers say that these scooters are causing more accidents and injuries. Like other smaller transportation choices, like bikes, skateboards, and boosted boards, social scooters can, and have, caused an increase in accidents. Injuries caused by social scooters run the same lines as bicycle accidents, and can often result in life-altering changes.
If you’re new to the social transportation trend, there are some things you may not know about these zippy scooters.
- Not every city is thrilled about social scooters. When it comes to social transportation, especially dockless bikes and scooters, companies have adopted the philosophy of “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” The reality is, city officials have been as surprised as local residents of cities like Santa Barbara and San Francisco when these scooters suddenly appeared overnight. This has made it nearly impossible to prepare people for the hazards that may be associated with a vast cadre of inexperienced scooter-riders.
- Helmets are legally required on social scooters. While Bird is lobbying in California to have this law relaxed, California does require that riders of motorized scooters wear helmets. If you live in a city where social scooters have taken off, you may notice that most riders ignore this law.
- A driver’s license is required to ride a social scooter. While Bird requires you to take a picture of your driver’s license with the app before it will release a scooter, other companies, like Lime, do not. Of course, even with the license picture requirement, under-age drivers can get around this pretty easily by using someone else’s ID.
- It is illegal to ride a motorized scooter on California sidewalk. Given the dangers of riding a small, motorized scooter in traffic, and despite warnings from social scooter companies not to ride on the sidewalk, plenty of riders ignore the law and the warnings, and zip down pedestrian-filled sidewalks nonetheless. This places both riders and pedestrians at risk of injury.
- Scooter-related injuries are on the rise. Doctors in San Francisco are creating a database of scooter-related injuries and are noticing early trends. The chief of emergency medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital notes that prior to the arrival of social scooters, he saw one scooter-related injury on a bad month. Now, he sees 5-10 scooter-related injuries each week.
Scooters offer no protection for riders, who may crash into cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, trees, signs, potholes, and even the most benign cracks in the road. Without a helmet to protect the rider’s head, severe injuries can result from scooter crashes. When this happens, it can be difficult to determine liability for these injuries. Facts may lead to the scooter companies, the rider, government agencies and other drivers. If you have been injured in a social scooter accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Posted in: Bicycle Accidents