Motorized scooters are an answer to a big transportation problem. From eco-friendly transportation alternatives to senior citizen mobility solutions, the popularity of e-scooters is growing exponentially. And along with it–the risk of injuries.
What is an E-Scooter?
An e-scooter refers to a broad category of battery-powered transportation devices. These include scooters, hoverboards, e-bikes, and similar devices. E-scooters generally have two wheels and are designed for a variety of purposes ranging from enjoyment and commuting to essential mobility (these are geared towards seniors and the disabled, and tend to have three or even four wheels).
Are E-Scooters Dangerous?
E-scooters aren’t inherently dangerous when used with appropriate safety precautions. But the potential for a significant injury is there. The number of emergency medical visits has climbed steadily alongside the popularity of e-scooters. Between 2017 and 2020, U.S. emergency rooms treated 190,000 injuries attributed to e-scooter accidents. Most of these injuries are treatable limb injuries like cuts and abrasions. However, there were at least 71 fatalities associated with e-scooters during that same period.
Common causes of e-scooter accidents:
- Mechanical (e.g., brake failure)
- Electrical (e.g., shock from an electrical discharge)
- Man-Made (e.g., improper usage)
Safety Precautions to Prevent E-Scooter Injuries
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains that the use of micro-mobility products like e-scooters is generally safe with a few simple guidelines. For example, wearing a helmet to protect your head in the event of a fall or accident is a great idea any time that you are traveling faster than foot-pace. You should also take care to carefully inspect an e-scooter before operating it, addressing any damage or physical defects that might interfere with safe operation.
Should You Buy E-Scooter Insurance?
An e-scooter is a motorized vehicle and may be subject to insurance laws in some states. For example, Illinois and Texas both have laws requiring e-scooter insurance. However, for the majority of the U.S. and most other countries–e-scooter insurance is not required for individual operators. If you rent e-scooters, your business may be required to carry additional insurance policies. Additionally, because e-scooters are motorized vehicles, they should only be operated by those with a valid driver’s license. In some states a license is a requirement, while in others it is not.
So, while insurance may not be required, many motorists might be surprised to learn that there are some notable gaps in coverage when it comes to e-scooters and the wide range of products that fit this category. For example, it’s common for auto insurance policies to limit coverage only to vehicles with three or four wheels.
If you’re riding a four-wheeled mobility scooter, you may be in luck. But if you’re on a two-wheeled pedestrian scooter, you might be excluded from coverage. Similarly, homeowners insurance policies might cover some traditional definitions like a two-wheeled e-bike, but not newer models of e-scooters or those that don’t fit traditional definitions.
You should definitely check with your insurance agent to confirm coverage for your specific e-scooter. If you have any gaps in coverage, your agent may be able to offer a rider to add coverage for your e-scooter. E-scooters are still new to the scene, and most major insurance companies have been slow to update their product offerings to include these new motorized vehicles. Nonetheless, it’s still worth looking into e-scooter insurance.
Final Thoughts on E-Scooters
E-scooter injuries are on the rise–that’s a fact. But so is e-scooter popularity. If nature walking suddenly became popular, we would definitely see a dramatic increase in nature walking accidents. That correlation doesn’t mean that users should avoid nature walking, which is a relatively safe activity; it simply means that more exposure equals greater risk. The same is true for e-scooter popularity and e-scooter injuries.
The takeaway message here is that you should employ some basic safety measures like wearing a helmet and paying attention to your surroundings. And, because accidents happen, you should at least carry personal healthcare insurance. If you have suffered an injury as the result of an e-scooter accident, Silver & Silver Law Firm may be able to help you get compensation. Give us a call today.