New Scooter Laws in Effect in California

New Scooter LawsThe California legislature has enacted new laws governing the use and operation of scooters on the state’s roadways. Among the most controversial provisions—the new law does not require adults riding scooters on streets or bike paths to wear helmets. Minors must still wear headgear and motorcyclists are also required to wear helmets.

Officials at Bird, the scooter company that helped sponsor the legislation, said that prior laws that required helmets for adults discouraged scooter use, as adults did not want to tote a helmet around to be able to ride a scooter. Those who favored the helmet requirements of the prior law expressed befuddlement, arguing that motorcyclists on the same streets must have helmets. They also expressed concerns that the new laws will encourage scooter use on roads with more traffic and higher speed limits, making helmets even more important.

Under the new statute:

  • A rider must be at least 18 to ride without a helmet
  • Scooters can be operated in class II or class IV bike paths, but at speeds no higher than 15 mph
  • Scooters may be operated on streets with speed limits up to 25 mph, but at speeds no higher than 15 mph
  • Scooters may be operated on streets with speed limits up to 35 mph (but only if local authorities enact ordinances permitting it), but only at speeds up to 15 mph

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of experience helping people in California who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents. We understand the devastating impact a personal injury can have on every area of your life. We’ll take the time to learn exactly what happened and what you need to move forward with your life. To set up a meeting, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation.

Santa Monica Beefs Up Efforts to Improve Scooter Safety

Police Officers Increase Attention to Traffic Violations

An e scooter

Because of concerns about the mounting numbers of accidents involving electric scooters, the Santa Monica police department has taken steps to enhance monitoring of e-scooters. The programs targets drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians and e-scooter riders. The increased surveillance of e-scooter operators began on Friday, May 10, 2019.

According to officials from the SMPD, law enforcement officers targeted e-scooter operators between 6 pm and 8 pm that night, citing riders for a range of traffic violations, including excessive speed, failure to yield to the right of way of pedestrians, failure to stop at a red light or stop sign, and making illegal turns. Officers were also instructed to ticket e-scooter operators who were driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalk. Officials say e-scooter riders are required to travel in designated bike lanes and must obey all traffic laws, signs and signals.

A recent study in Southern California found that, over a twelve-month-period starting in September, 2017, 249 people made emergency room visits to two Los Angeles hospitals because of injuries sustained while riding an e-scooter. The majority of victims were scooter operators who fell while on the bike (more than 90%). Less than 5% of the victims reported wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The range of injuries included broken bones, lacerations, contusions and dislocations. Two victims ended up in the intensive care unit.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 35 years of experience to injured people in California, including individuals injured in scooter or motorcycle accidents. We’ll listen carefully to learn the specific details of your accident, as well as your needs and concerns, so that we can take the right steps to get the results you seek. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Learn to Brake—Don’t Be Afraid to Accelerate!

Braking Skills Build Confidence on a Motorcycle

Motorcycle brakeIf you’re a relatively new rider, or maybe an experienced one getting back on the bike after an accident, one of the biggest hurdles to fully enjoying the experience a motorcycle offers is a reluctance to hit the throttle. It’s a feeling like nothing in the world, but a part of the rush is the knowledge of the inherent danger. It’s you and machine against the elements, and a single mistake can be devastating.

You may think that the way to overcome “acceleration anxiety” is to practice using the throttle. While it always helps to have a fine-tuned sense of how your throttle will respond, a better strategy will likely be to practice your braking. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Be more willing to use your brakes—Too many riders ease off the throttle to slow down, rather than applying the brakes. That’s an inefficient way to lower your speed, with far less control than you’ll get from your brakes. However, if you’re going to use your brakes, you have to know how they’ll respond, and that takes practice. Go to a large parking lot or out for an easy ride in the country (where there will be little traffic) and practice always using your brakes to slow down. Your confidence will increase immediately.
  • Don’t jump on or clutch the brake—Many riders are afraid to brake because they do so too aggressively. Practice applying gentler, but more consistent, pressure to the brakes, so that your deceleration is more consistent. It’s also important to understand that the first squeeze on your brakes isn’t for reducing your speed—it’s to load the fork springs in a linear manner. If you squeeze only once, you won’t get maximum efficiency from your brakes.
  • Don’t simultaneously engage the front brake and the throttle—This is an old wives’ tale and not a good idea. Learn to shut the throttle before you brake and release the brake before you accelerate.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experience successfully handling personal injury claims to people throughout the state of California. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

Scooter Enthusiasts Advocate for New Licensing and Regulation

Proponents Emphasize Safety Aspects

new licensing and regulationScooters and other electronic vehicles have taken the country by storm, but the reactions have been mixed. Some cities have banned them altogether or placed strict limits on the number of vendors and scooters in the community. Other municipalities have implemented extensive regulations regarding use and licensing.

The original electric motorbikes or scooters (now known somewhat colloquially as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVS)) are designed to reach maximum speeds of about 25-30 miles per hour. New technology has led to the development of electric scooters that can go 45 mph or even faster.

Now, some e-bike advocates are calling for consideration of national regulation and/or licensing of two-wheeled electronic vehicles (EVs). They note that while cars, trucks and motorcycles all have national standards that must be met, the smaller EVs are mostly without regulation. Depending on the locality, the same two-wheeler might be classified (and regulated) as a bicycle, moped, electric bicycle, motorized bicycle or even a motorcycle. Vehicles that are legal in many states are outlawed in others.

Proponents of national regulation argue that it would create a clear set of safety standards that all manufacturers would have to meet. In addition, it would allow for the regulation of such vehicles according to their top rate of speed, with safety guidelines or requirements that correspond. They point to the current Department of Transportation and NHTSA certifications that apply to motorcycles, noting that those programs have prevented manufacturers from selling unsafe bikes in the United States.

Scooter advocates also propose a new type of license—an “urban electric motorbike” license. To obtain such a license, an applicant would need to complete safety and driving programs geared specifically to two-wheeled electronic vehicles.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have advocated for the rights of personal injury victims in California for more than 30 years, including people injured in motorcycle accidents. We’ll take the time to learn the unique aspects of your accident, as well as your needs, so that we can tailor our counsel to get the results you seek. Send us an e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims-Establishing Cause

Recovering Compensation after a Motorcycle Accident-Step Two

Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims-Establishing Cause

In an earlier blog, we looked at the first requirement to successfully recover damages after suffering injury in a motorcycle accident-the breach of the duty of care. It’s not enough, however, to show that a defendant ran a stop sign, veered into your lane or otherwise failed to act as a reasonable person. Once you’ve demonstrated breach of duty, you must next show that the breach “caused” an accident.

Defining Cause

As the laws governing personal injury have evolved, two different types of cause have developed. Both must be shown before you have a right to recover for your losses.

The first type of cause-actual cause-is typically the easiest to prove. Also Known as “but for” cause, it simply requires that you show that the accident would not have happened “but for” or in the absence of the breach of duty. Often, unfortunately, it’s too easy to make a case for “but for” cause, even if the likelihood of the accident happening was minimal, based on the act of the defendant. For example, assume that a motorist runs a red light and hits a car. That car veers across the road and hits a fire hydrant. The water from the hydrant runs four blocks downhill and into the path of your motorcycle. You lose control of your bike and suffer an injury. There’s clearly “but for” cause-if the motorist had not run the red light, you would not have had a motorcycle accident.

This is where the second type of cause-proximate cause-comes into play. Proximate cause asks whether or not the event was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the wrongful act. In the example given here, was it reasonably foreseeable that water would run four blocks downhill and into your path? There’s no hard and fast legal principle, though, that determines what is “reasonably foreseeable.” That will ultimately be determined by a jury.

Contact the Law Office of Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of motorcycle accident victims in California for more than 30 years. To set up a free initial consultation, Send us an email or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

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.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

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.

Women’s Biker Clubs Thrive in California

 

Female Groups Strong across the State

 

Women Biker ClubsIt’s a familiar image—a woman riding on the back of a motorcycle. But more and more across California and throughout the nation, women are bucking that trend, taking the handles of their own bikes. And, more and more, they’re forming their own clubs, where they can share interests, socialize and even raise money for charities and their communities. Here are some of the top Women’s Motorcycle Clubs in the Golden State.

  • Lost Girls Motorcycle Club—Operating out of Visalia, these women have sponsored the annual Lost Girls Breast Cancer ride for more than a decade, raising more than $100,000 for breast cancer research and treatment. Learn more on their website.
  • Curve Unit—These bikers raise money for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation with an annual ride in October. They’ve taken a monthly ride through the Bay Area for more than 15 years.
  • Ghetto Girlz Motorcycle Club—These women started the club back in 2009 to promote a sense of family for women of all backgrounds, and now have Chapters around the world, including Ireland, New Zealand and Fort Wayne, Indiana. A number of their members have been inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. They’ve raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Once In A Lifetime and Homes for Our Troops, among other charitable organizations.
  • Devil Dolls Motorcycle Club—Founded as a Harley club for women in 1999, this group now allows a variety of American and European bikes. The group boasts a diverse membership, including old-school bikers, community activists, professionals and moms. Their members hail from across the west coast and they have a sister club in Sweden.

Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have over 30 years of combined experience protecting the rights of people in California who have suffered needless personal injury, including men and women hurt in motorcycle accidents. To schedule an appointment, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010. Your initial interview is without cost or obligation.

Government Studies Scooter Safety

 

CDC Looking at Dockless Scooters

 

Studies Scooter SafetySurprising even industry analysts, dockless scooters have become the rage in municipalities across the country, with industry leaders Bird and Lime making their motorized crafts available in more than a hundred cities in just over a year. With the proliferation of scooters, though, officials have seen a dramatic rise in scooter accidents, some involving serious injury and even death. The federal government has now decided to take a closer look at safety issues tied to the devices.

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), headquarted in Atlanta, announced earlier this week that it will be investigating health and safety risks associated with the motorized bikes. The study will look at usage and crash statistics in Austin, Texas. Officials plan to examine emergency room data and EMS calls from a 90 day period, running from September through November of 2018. They’ll be investigating the causes of scooter accidents and seeking to identify preventive safety measures.

Concerns have mounted nationwide as the number of scooter-related injuries has spiked. A hospital in Salt Lake City reported a 161% increase in scooter-related trauma in just a year. Riders have died in motor vehicle accidents across the country, including Washington, DC and Dallas.

Concerns about the safety of scooters has led many cities to curtail usage, including San Francisco, where officials issued a temporary ban, then issued operating licenses to only two companies. Santa Monica officials have also struggled to accommodate the low-speed vehicles, identifying specific sections along city streets designated for scooter parking.

Contact Our Offices

At Weber & Nierenberg, we offer more than three decades of collective legal experience to people who suffered any type of personal injury in California, including individuals hurt in scooter accidents. We will take the time to learn exactly what happened to you, as well as what you need to fully compensate you for your losses. For a free initial consultation, Contact our office online or call 1-866-288-6010 to schedule an appointment with an experienced California motorcycle/scooter accident lawyer.

Scooter Companies Face Class Action Lawsuit

 

Litigation Alleges Manufacturers Engaged in “Gross Negligence”

 

Scooter-CompaniesEven though they seem to be increasingly popular with commuters and the public, electronic scooters continue to be the source of legal issues for their manufacturers. In fact, a lawsuit filed in state court in Los Angeles County earlier this fall named a number of e-scooter companies as defendants and the allegations included “aiding and abetting assault” and engaging in “gross negligence.”

The California litigation, which names Bird, Lime and other e-scooter enterprises, was filed as a class action on behalf of eight individuals who say they suffered injuries because of the companies’ business practices. The injured parties (plaintiffs) contend that scooter companies have increased the risk of injury by placing scooters on public streets without any safety warnings or ways to ensure that individuals who rent or drive them are qualified to do so. They allege in their lawsuit that this constitutes a “public nuisance.”

The complaint further states that the e-scooter companies either knew or should have known that their customers were injuring others, specifically pedestrians, but took no action whatsoever to address the problem. By failing to act, they allege, the companies “assisted and encouraged” customers to engage in behavior that constituted assault.

The plaintiffs also contend that there are product liability concerns with many of the scooters— they have either defective electronics or defective mechanical parts (or both). Attorneys for the plaintiffs say there are “scores” of riders and pedestrians who have already been injured, and they have asked the court to certify a class action.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg to Schedule a Meeting

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of combined legal experience to personal injury victims across California, including people who have been hurt in scooter accidents. We will listen carefully to learn the unique details of your case so that we can customize our legal representation to obtain the outcome you need. Contact our office online or call 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation with an experienced California motorcycle and scooter accident attorney.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries—Does There Have to Be a Collision?

In situations involving a “near collision,” where the wrongful act of another motorist causes you to take evasive action, there’s a big difference between the potential consequences when you’re on a motorcycle or an automobile. With an automobile, it’s much easier to maintain control of the vehicle and you’ll be protected by a few thousand pounds of steel. On a motorcycle, though, your only option may be to lay down the bike, putting you in direct contact with the roadway.

If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident where there was never any contact with another driver, can you still sue that person for injuries suffered? The answer is a clear “yes.”

Legal Responsibility for “No Contact” Motorcycle Accidents

There is no requirement that there be any actual contact between the at-fault party and a person injured in a motorcycle accident. Instead, a personal injury claim for losses sustained in a motorcycle accident will almost always be based on a legal theory of negligence. To successfully recover under a theory of negligence, you need to prove three things to a judge and/or jury:

  • That the at-fault person breached his or her duty of care—Under the law as it has evolved, all persons must exercise “reasonable” care in all their daily endeavors, whether it’s driving a motor vehicle, maintaining real property, or designing or manufacturing a product. In a lawsuit, a jury will review the facts as supported by the evidence and make a determination of whether or not the defendant exercised an appropriate amount of care. If not, the jury will move on to the second element of negligence.
  • The failure to exercise reasonable care “caused” an accident—Causation has two parts—actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause requires a showing that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause requires that the injured party show that the injuries sustained were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the breach of the duty of care.
  • There were actual losses—The plaintiff (the injured party) must also show that he or she suffered some actual loss, whether it’s property damage or personal injury. Personal injury can include lost wages and income, medical bills, loss of companionship or consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys bring over 30 years of experience to injured people in California, including men and women who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a private consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. There is no charge for your first meeting.

 
 
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