Eye Injuries a Serious Risk for Scooter Operators

University Study Shows Increase in Facial Trauma

Eye Injuries a Serious Risk for Scooter OperatorsResearch at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) indicates that as the popularity of electric scooters has risen dramatically, the number of scooter injuries has skyrocketed as well, with a significant portion of them involving trauma to the head and face, particularly the eyes. The study, conducted over a 12-month period in late 2018 and early 2019, looked at injuries suffered by scooter-accident victims who sought treatment at two UCSC emergency rooms. The report found that many patients coming into the emergency room with scooter-related injuries had complex facial fractures to bones around the eyes, and many had serious eye injuries as well. Nearly all had some type of facial fracture (over 90%), with most of those being complex fractures. About 75 percent needed hospitalization, and one in four required surgery. Of those who participated in the study, two of every three underwent an eye exam. Doctors found retinal hemorrhaging and numerous lacerations involving eyelids. One patient experienced temporary blindness because of pressure inside his eye. None of those who suffered injury were wearing a helmet

Under California law, electric-scooter operators over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet. Though studies in other parts of the country indicate that the mandatory use of helmets dramatically decreases the number and severity of head injuries among scooter operators, such laws have not been enacted. Opponents say requiring helmet use would be a significant disincentive to use of electric scooters—people will choose to rideshare or walk instead

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At Weber & Nierenberg, we have effectively represented personal injury victims throughout California for more than three decades, including victims of vehicle accidents. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation

Statistics Show Increase in Scooter Injuries

Many Mishaps Tied to Use of Alcohol or Drugs

Statistics Show Increase in Scooter InjuriesData gathered from three Southern California trauma centers indicates that, as electric scooters have escalated in popularity over the past couple years, so have the number of injuries sustained by operators and riders. In a study published in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open, researchers found that most of the victims were male and that more than half tested positive for blood alcohol or other controlled substances, including THC and methamphetamines. Officials say 79% of the victims in the study were tested for blood alcohol, with 48% showing a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08 percent, the legal limit in most states. Approximately 60 percent of the injured scooter users were tested for drugs, with 52% found to have controlled substances in their bloodstream.

The most common types of injuries suffered were broken bones and head trauma. Of those victims included in the study, 98% were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. The average hospital stay for the scooter injury victims was three days and about one in three required some type of surgical procedure. Though no one died, eight patients spent time in intensive care and six required long-term acute care.

Police and prosecutors in some California cities have started applying the DWI/DUI laws to electric scooter operators. As early as September, 2018, a man in Los Angeles was convicted for driving a scooter while under the influence. The 28-year-old man apparently knocked down a pedestrian while drunk and fled to a nearby apartment building without giving aid. When officers arrested him, the defendant had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit. He was convicted of a misdemeanor.

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At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have aggressively protected the rights of 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.

Los Angeles Police See Dramatic Increase in Scooter Citations

Number of Tickets Up Nearly 2000%

Los Angeles Police See Dramatic Increase in Scooter CitationsMotorized scooters have become a part of life across California, and police officers in most cities, including Los Angeles, are taking a more aggressive approach to protect the safety of citizens. L.A. officials say that, during the first six months of 2019, officers have issued more than 800 citations to scooter operators, ticketing them for more than 900 different infractions. Officers wrote 249 tickets in June alone, compared to just 13 during the same time period last year. In fact, more than 500 tickets have been given since May 1, 2019.

City officials note that about two of every three citations were for illegally operating a scooter on a sidewalk. Paul Koretz, a Los Angeles city councilman, acknowledged that the city government has been concerned about the safety of citizens. He called riding on sidewalks “the most dangerous violation” committed by scooter operators and said, “If you are riding a scooter on a sidewalk, you will get a ticket.”

According to California law, scooter operators may not be on sidewalks under any circumstances. They may ride in the street if the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or slower, and can always use the bicycle lanes.

The city cited data collected by the Los Angeles Fire Department showing that, in accidents involving scooter riders, the scooter operator was at fault more than half of the time. The LAFD has reported more than 160 accidents thus far in 2019 involving electric scooters, including approximately 60 incidents where at least one person was taken to the hospital.

If you are cited for riding on the sidewalk, you can expect to fine of $197, in addition to court costs and other processing fees.

Officials say the major scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, have put stickers on all their vehicles advising riders not to ride on sidewalks, but the measure has done little to change actual practices.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to injured people in California, including persons hurt in scooter or motorcycle accidents. We’ll learn what happened to you, as well as your needs and concerns, so that we can take the right steps to get the solution you need. Contact our office online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

San Diego Pair “Impounding” Abandoned Scooters

Scooter Companies File Suit Alleging Unlawful Taking

San Diego Pair Two San Diego men have formed a fledgling business on the heels of the current scooter craze. John Heinkel and Dan Borelli have formed a company called ScootScoop, which patrols the city streets in San Diego and other Southern California cities, using a flatbed truck to “impound” and tow away electric scooters they allege have been abandoned near hotels or on private property. According to Heinkel and Borelli, in a little over a year in business, they have “impounded” nearly 13,000 vehicles, writing a parking ticket for every scooter they seize. The men say they have offered to return the vehicles to the manufacturers—most of the impounded vehicles are from Bird and Lime, the top two players on the industry. Thus far, however, the scooter companies have declined to pay the return fee of $50 per vehicle.

Instead, Bird and Lime have filed a lawsuit in state court in California, alleging that ScootScoop has illegally taken the vehicles, calling the return fee a “ransom.” The companies claim that ScootScoop has frequently seized scooter that were “responsibly parked,” calling the business “a property theft scheme to generate income.” ScootScoop counters that California law allows for the impoundment of vehicles improperly parked on private property. Heinkel and Borelli say that, if the companies continue to refuse to pay the return fee, the scooters will be sold at a public auction.

Under a new law enacted earlier this year, San Diego now requires that electric scooters in the downtown area be parked only in certain areas designated as “corrals.” The owners of ScootScoop insist that they only impound scooters that have been parked in violation of state and city laws.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Experienced Motorcycle Accident Representation

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of experience helping injured people in California, including victims of scooter or motorcycle accidents. We’ll listen carefully to learn the details of your accident, as well as your needs and concerns, so that we can tailor our representation to get the outcome you want. Contact our office online or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Who’s Responsible When There’s an E-Scooter Accident?

E-Scooters: Who Is Responsible When There’s an Accident?

Allocating Liability for E-Scooter Injuries

Bird Electric Scooters

E-scooter and dockless scooters are rapidly becoming a common site on the roadways across California, after some initial concerns by a number of municipalities. Earlier this year, Los Angeles County dropped its order to remove from public streets, and other local governments have started to follow suit. Unanswered, though, is the key question—who pays when someone is injured in an e-scooter/dockless scooter accident?

If you’ve rented one of the scooters using your phone, you know that there’s a lengthy waiver that you are supposed to read before getting on the motorized bikes. That would seem to imply that most, if not all, of the responsibility falls on the rider. While digitally signing the waiver may impose some responsibility on the rider, there are always exceptions to the rule:

  • The negligence of others — Simply signing a waiver does not make you absolutely liable for any injury you suffer. If, for example, you can prove that your injury was caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, that person can be held accountable. For example, if the scooter was not properly maintained, you can still bring a lawsuit against the company that provided the scooter, regardless of a waiver. In addition, if a homeowner or business owner leaves debris in the road, causing an accident, you may be able to recover damages from that party.
  • Poorly maintained roadways — What if you hit a patch of loose gravel or lose control of the scooter after hitting a pothole? The rules vary from municipality to municipality, but you may be able to bring legal action against the local government for negligence.

Concerns about liability for injuries have led to a new and burgeoning market for trip insurance, where scooter renters can opt to pay an additional fee for coverage for losses.

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At Weber & Nierenberg, we offer over 30 years of combined legal experience to people who have been hurt in e-scooter/dockless scooter accidents in California. We will take the time to learn the details of your accident, as well as your needs, so that we can tailor our counsel to get the outcome you seek. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 to talk with an experienced California motorcycle/scooter accident lawyer. Your first meeting is without cost.

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