Even if you haven’t tried or seen one yet, you’ve probably been exposed to the buzzwords. Micro-mobility. And last-mile transportation. These are personal, motorized “vehicles” of various kinds. They move one person, typically at low speeds, over short distances. Micro-mobility riders don’t own the machines. Rather, a key feature of this trend is the servitization of the vehicles. Users rent them per-trip. They use a phone app to locate and rent a nearby vehicle, ride it to their destination, and then leave it there. GPS tells the micro-mobility company where each vehicle is. It’s a major trend. The two pioneering scooter sharing companies, Bird and Lime, set US speed records for reaching billion-dollar valuations. Dockless scooter accidents are the inevitable result of this trend.
Whether “e-scooters” are here stay, however, is an open question. Some South Florida cities which had permitted scooter companies to operate have had second thoughts. Not without reason. Police are burdened by increasing reports of scooter theft. Pedestrians are increasingly vocal in their complaints about riders using the sidewalks.
By March 2019 officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta was concerned by the dockless scooter trend. Accident reports were streaming in from all over the country. When the City of Austin, TX, requested a CDC study of the problem, the agency agreed. The CDC reached out to local authorities and medical centers. The emerging picture is, indeed, worrisome.
- For each 100,000 dockless scooter trips, there are 20 injuries
- About half of the accident victims sustain head injuries
- Only 2% of the injured riders were wearing helmets
- 15% of the head wounds resulted in traumatic brain injuries
The industry data show that users took 38.5 million e-scooter trips in 2018. Hence, there would have been about 7,700 total injuries, and 1,155 traumatic brain injuries.
LIABILITY IN DOCKLESS SCOOTER ACCIDENTS
The legal issues around dockless scooters are especially complex. One reason is that laws regulating these scooters vary greatly from locality to locality. There have been local laws banning dockless scooters from streets and roadways. This forced the riders onto sidewalks. Hence, pedestrians are increasingly among the injury victims of e-scooter accidents.
Who, then, is liable for e-scooter accident injuries? The rider? The CDC study found that 48% of injured scooter riders tested above the legal blood alcohol limit. Fully 52% tested positive for an illicit drug. On the other hand, an injured pedestrian could also be at fault. So can the city, or a private property owner, if they negligently allowed a hazardous condition that caused an accident.
People injured in dockless scooter accidents need personal injury attorneys with long experience. Lawyers with a deep understanding of personal injury law, and also up-to-the-minute awareness of evolving issues such as dockless scooters. Call Silver & Silver, PA, Boca Raton, for a free initial consultation.