Fatalities and Serious Injury Lead to Public Outcry
If you’ve been in just about any major city in the last year, you’ve seen the onslaught of e-scooters, the new darlings of the “micro-mobility” industry. Experts estimate that as many as 85,000 such scooters are used every day across the United States. They can offer an easy way to get from one place to another, but they have been governed by a patchwork quilt of local regulations thus far. As injury and death tolls mount—a 2017 study found more than 1,500 injuries and 8 fatalities, a number that has increased dramatically in the last year—there’s been a bit of a backlash from consumers, who are asking government officials to take steps to protect public safety. In Oregon, some have even dumped the vehicles in the local river!
The e-scooters have many positive attributes:
- They don’t use gasoline or carbon-based fuels
- Payment is easy—typically done through an app on your phone
- They travel four times as fast as you can travel on foot
Unfortunately, because of the way they are rented, it’s difficult to enforce measures that would improve the safety of both riders and others. For example, as a general rule, an e-scooter operator is supposed to be at least 18, wear a helmet, have a valid driver’s license and travel alone. There’s really no one to monitor these requirements, though, so the scooters are frequently taken by unlicensed individuals or by minors, and the operators often ride without any protective gear. In addition, many try to put more than one person on the scooter, which can make it extremely difficult to control. They have also been used like skateboards by some riders, who try to take them over curbs and do other stunts.
Another significant problem—many e-scooter riders don’t want to be on the roads (they can’t go more than 15 mph), so they ride on the sidewalks. That can constitute a hazard for the scooter operator and the pedestrian.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have helped injured people in California for more than 30 years, including people who have been hurt in motorcycle and scooter accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.