The Chaotic and Cool Electric Scooters

Apr 26, 2019 by

If you live in a city or near a college campus, you’ve seen them. They appear suddenly. They are energized at night. They wreak havoc. They cause chaos. They are connected to many, many injuries. Some deaths.

That’s right, I’m talking about electric scooters. The biggest electric scooter brands are Bird and Lime. But other brands, like Uber’s Jump or Spin, are also jumping into the fold. These scooters, most popular with millennials and urbanites, are just other services in a new economy prioritizing convenience and express delivery.

People can make money — mostly as a side gig but for some, as a full-time job — charging the electric scooters at night and returning them to populous areas before sunrise. This has established a system of self-sustainability wherein “chargers” refuel the electric batteries while contracted, amateur mechanics repair scooters with functional issues.

Unfortunately, these mechanics operate with no professional credentials or certification. In some cases, the people who are charged with repairing or fixing electric scooters have absolutely no experience solving mechanical issues. The issue, of course, is that human error will cause a scooter to malfunction and potentially endanger the rider and nearby pedestrians. These errors will only become more common with the increasing explosion of electric scooter brands.

However, the role of mechanics is just one of the many safety issues that these new devices represent. With very little oversight, these companies flood the markets and cities literally overnight. City councils and municipal boards have had to issue bans not because the devices are without merit, but because they need time to adjust parking ordinances as well as learn enforcement mechanisms for scooters driving on sidewalks, for example.

Another danger is car-scooter collisions. The dangerous phenomenon is especially prevalent in urban communities, swamped with electric scooters, with little to no bicycle infrastructure. A lack of bike lanes, narrow lanes, or confusing road configurations can and will lead to more car-scooter accidents wherein a negligent scooter rider or an inattentive driver will collide.

Many scooter accident injuries are particularly dangerous because of the inherent vulnerability of so many riders; helmets are not required nor are individual state laws necessitating them always enforced. In most collisions, a rider is thrown from their scooter. Being thrown to the ground at a high speed is obviously dangerous and even sometimes, fatal.

Other injuries include spinal cord injuries, bruised or broken bones, lacerations, cuts, sprained ankles, and broken wrists.

I did some research on liability for scooter accidents. The website for The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee argues that in most cases, scooter accident victims are pressured to assume responsibility in the accident, even if the facts of the case demonstrate that the car or truck drivers are to blame. They advise you to talk with a lawyer before you accept an offer for a settlement or compensation from an insurance company. Apparently, insurance companies have a history of short-changing — or trying to pay you as little as they can get away with — instead of focusing on paying you the money you deserve and need to recover from your accident.

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