In lots of metropolitan locations, such as Salt Lake City, shared electronic scooters and e-bikes can be found zipping around every downtown street. You have probably seen these mobile scooters leased under brands such as Lime, Razor, Bird, Spin, Jump or Lyft. Many people enjoy this means of transportation because it is cheap, fast, environmentally friendly and fun. Despite their popularity, this new, modern technology has caused a new collection of traffic and general safety concerns. Those who ride these scooters and bicycles should be aware of the risks involved as they go between public transportation stops, parking lots, sidewalks, and crosswalks.
No Safety Helmet = Head Injuries
Perhaps the largest concern with electronic scooters and e-bikes it that they can be rented by virtually anyone at any time. For example, if someone was going to take their bike to work they would most likely have safety equipment with them including a helmet, knee and elbow pads and protective gloves. Business people on their way to lunch are far less likely to have these items, resulting in someone not wearing a helmet when they should be. These machines currently do not come with a helmet or safety items when rented for riders to use. This puts riders at a significantly higher risk for traumatic head injuries to their face and brains.
Safely riding a bike or scooter in a highly populated city area takes skill, experience, and knowledge of the rules of the road. Often times we see people rent a bicycle for the first time without any prior experience of sharing the road with vehicles and pedestrians. Many inexperienced bikers make an initial attempt to ride in a busy city area, as opposed to learning in a regulated environment to get used to operating their bike with the same rules as cars, motorcycles, and trucks. Other problems include the fact that you can rent a scooter right next to downtown bars. Although this helps reduce the number of drunk drivers, we do see people using e-scooters and bikes while intoxicated. In other situations, operators tend to consider the scooter as a plaything as opposed to a serious form of transportation. Many individuals get injured because they are playing or goofing around on the scooter and fall or run into an object.
Accidents Caused by Drivers
In the worst cases, a vehicle has accidentally struck a scooter or cyclist. The injuries sustained can be quite large and even life-threatening. Drivers have reported having a difficult time seeing scooter riders, especially since they move faster than the average pedestrian. Our firm has seen many situations where drivers are not yielding to scooter riders in crosswalks or when they cross the entrance to a parking lot. Drivers tend to focus on finding a break in traffic so they can make a left or right turn. Forgetting, of course, to look for the relatively small and fast-moving scooter rider.
It is also worth noting that electronic scooters and bikes can sometimes malfunction and can be unreasonably dangerous. These devices are often mistreated, deserted, left outside, improperly maintained or otherwise disregarded. There are many reported instances of alarmingly malfunctioning scooters being rented by the general public. This can cause the equipment to fail at inopportune times causing mishaps that lead to injuries. Cyclists must do their best to evaluate the devices before riding, however, defects might be hard to impossible to spot with the naked eye.
We hope that after reading this article you are able to see more of the potential dangers that can arise from scooters and e-bikes. If you choose to ride one or are a vehicle operator make sure to keep safety in the forefront of your mind. If you or a loved one has been involved in an electronic scooter or e-bike accident contact our office to speak with a legal professional about your case.