Archives for December 2020
Companies Report Mixed Impact
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many businesses across the United States as people follow social distancing guidelines in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Early in the crisis, reports indicated that shared-scooter operators were being hit heavily, but more recent data from some companies shows a shift, with users taking more trips and the average trip length growing as well.
In May, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that demand for scooter rentals had allbut disappeared, with many larger scooter companies incurring substantial losses. The likely reason was widespread fear of contact with something previously used by unknown persons due to uncertainty about how contagious the virus was and how it spread.
Earlier this month, however, the scooter company Spin said numbers have gone up year over year in both the number of trips booked and the length of each trip. Spin disclosed that the average trip went from 15 minutes in 2019 to 22 minutes for the same time period in 2020.
Scooter operator Lime conducted a public survey in June, finding that more than two of every three respondents said they would use shared scooters in the future. Just twelve months earlier, about 40% of respondents gave a similar response. More than a third (35%) said they would use a shared scooter at least once a week, and one in four respondents expressed interest in purchasing their own scooter.
Public health experts say that using shared scooters can be safe during the pandemic, provided you treat the bikes like you would any other potentially contaminated surface and fully sanitize them before you get aboard.
Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have over 30 years of experience effectively representing injured people throughout California. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to arrange an appointment.
Legislature Amends Bill to Allow Waivers
In late August, the California legislature passed assembly bill 1286, requiring all “shared mobility” providers in the state to obtain a written permit from the county or city in which they plan to offer services. The statute defines “shared mobility” devices to include motorized scooters.
In the original version of the law, shared mobility providers were prohibited from including any provision in a customer agreement that waived, released, or limited the liability of providers for riders’ legal claims. A group of shared scooter providers, however, immediately opposed the inclusion of that language, saying that, without liability waivers, providers would face unreasonable risk and need to terminate operations. Providers argued that without a basic liability waiver, they faced potential legal challenges for a host of injuries and accidents, from roadway hazards to mishaps caused by careless driving. They also pointed out that in the state ofCalifornia, liability waivers are commonly allowed and enforced, provided they are “clear, unambiguous and explicit.”
A number of municipalities also expressed opposition to the proposed law, saying it could be thedeath knell of the scooter business in California, as companies would be unwilling to expose themselves to the inherent risks of the business without a way to manage their potential liability.They noted that other transportation services, such as rental car companies, routinely require a waiver of liability. Without the waiver of liability, scooter companies would face significant insurance premium increases that render profitability tenuous or impossible.
After considering the input from the scooter providers and municipalities, the legislature removed the provision banning liability waivers and passed the law.
Contact Our Offices
At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have effectively represented personal injury victims in California for more than three decades. To set up a free initial consultation to discuss your options after an accident, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.