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.
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