Scooter Backlash—Increased Use Leads to Increased Complaints

Fatalities and Serious Injury Lead to Public Outcry

Scooter BacklashIf 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.

California Legislature Still Debating E-Scooter Regulations

New Law Not Expected until 2020

E-Scooter Regulations The California Assembly has put two different bills aimed at regulating the so-called “micro-mobility” industry on hold until at least next January, as legislators gather more information about potential concerns and options. Assembly Bill 1112 and Assembly Bill 1286 are both “in a holding pattern,” according to one of the authors of AB 1112, assembly-woman Laura Friedman.

AB 1112 gives California municipalities the authority to prohibit the use of e-scooters if they can demonstrate legitimate concerns about potential violation of the California Environmental Quality Act. As recently as two months ago, an earlier version of the same bill would have banned cities from taking such action. The current version of the bill gives cities the right to establish maximum numbers of e-scooters, charge and collect fees from vendors, and even mandate that operators make scooters available in certain neighborhoods.

Acknowledging that there’s not enough information to make a good decision now, the California Senate Government and Finance Committee has called for at least two “informational” hearings this fall, where more can be learned about issues such as liability, data collection, and shared mobility.

Currently, the use of e-scooters is governed on a municipal level, with a wide array of regulatory measures in place. Many such regulations already contain provisions similar to those in the proposed state-wide legislation, including caps on fleet sizes, access in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and data collection.

Much of the debate in the California legislature has centered on the data issues. Most municipalities that already have e-scooter regulations require real-time sharing of data about scooter locations, maintenance and other issues. E-scooter companies say some of those requirements pose potential legal concerns about right to privacy.

Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to injured people in California, including people hurt in scooter or motorcycle accidents. We’ll listen carefully to learn exactly what happened to you, including your needs and concerns, so that we can customize our counsel to get the outcome you seek. Contact us online 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.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries –The Duty of Care

Recovering Compensation after a Motorcycle Accident -Step One

The Duty Care

When you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident because of the wrongful act of another person, you have a right to pursue damages-compensation for your losses. Though you can bring legal action if another person intentionally caused you harm, motorcycle accident claims are typically based on a legal theory of negligence.

To successfully bring a negligence claim, you must prove three things:

  • That the defendant (person who engaged in wrongful actions) failed to act as a reasonable person would
  • That the failure to act reasonably “caused” an accident
  • That you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident

As personal injury law has developed, a duty has been established. That duty requires that all people, in all actions within society, govern their conduct as a reasonable person would. That applies to driving a motor vehicle, maintaining property, and designing and manufacturing products, among other acts. As applied to motorcycle accidents, it can mean that a motorist has a duty to take reasonable care to be aware of the presence of motorcyclists and to avoid acts that would pose an unreasonable risk of harm to bikers, such as failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, making unsafe lane changes, traveling too close to a motorcycle or speeding.

The law, unfortunately, does not provide a great deal of guidance with respect to what is considered “reasonable.” That is typically determined by a jury, on a case-by-case basis, though juries are bound to some degree by “past precedent,” or prior decisions.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to individuals who have suffered injury in California in a motorcycle accident. We understand that every situation is different, so we’ll take the time to learn exactly what happened to you, as well as your needs, so we can implement the best strategy to get the outcome you want. Contact us online or call us at 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation.

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.

Bird Files Lawsuit Against Beverly Hills

 

E-Scooter Company Seeks to Overturn Ban on Rental Scooters

Beverly-HillsMotorized scooter pioneer Bird has brought legal action in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking the tribunal to strike down a ban on the bikes enacted by the city of Beverly Hills six months ago. In the wake of the ban, the city has impounded more than 1,000 scooters. Calling any ban in California “illegal,” Bird’s chief legal officer promised a progressive review of bans imposed in other cities across the Golden State.

Bird has seen the demand for its motorized bikes skyrocket in California in the last 12 months, but the company has encountered repeated challenges from cities that were unprepared for the onslaught. In addition to Beverly Hills, other cities that have taken action to ban the scooters include Ventura, West Hollywood and El Segundo.

On the other hand, a number of municipalities, including Long Beach, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, have developed pilot programs that allow the motorized scooters on city streets. However, those ordinances require that Bird and other scooter companies obey parking laws and share data with the cities.

In its complaint, Bird alleges that Beverly Hills broke California laws, including a statute that ensures equal rights for drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists and motorized scooter riders. The lawsuit also alleges that Beverly Hills took property without due process of law, noting that Bird had to pay more than $10,000 to reclaim its scooters. In addition, the legal action contends that Beverly Hills violated environmental and open meeting laws.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

We offer over three decades of combined experience to people in California who have been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness, including men and women injured in any kind of motorcycle accident. For a private consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg online or call us at 1-866-288-6010. Your initial meeting is free of charge.

The Hurt Study—A Look at Motorcycle Accidents in Southern California

Motorcycle-Accidents

Study Helps Officials and Bikers Make Riding Safer

More than 35 years ago, Harry Hurt, a researcher at the University of Southern California, conducted an extensive study of nearly 4,000 motorcycle accidents in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. That study is still used today to teach motorcyclists about the potential risks on the road and the things they can do to make their time on the bike safer.

Some Basic Findings of the Hurt Study

Professor Hurt found that about three of every four motorcycle accidents involved a collision with another vehicle (almost always a passenger car), and the remainder were caused by a collision with some other object or loss of control of the bike. As a general rule, mechanical problems were not a meaningful factor in the accidents, accounting for less than 3% of the crashes.

Hurt found that, when the crash involved another vehicle, the driver of that vehicle was twice as likely to have violated posted right of way than the biker. The other driver was at fault in approximately 2/3rds of all motorcycle-car accidents, with the most common type of collision coming when an automobile operator makes a left turn into the path of a motorcyclist traveling straight. One of the most often-cited reasons for a collision involved the failure of the other driver to detect and recognize the presence of a motorcycle on the roadway.

In single bike accidents, the most frequent cause was operator error, usually the result of excessive speed, over-braking or taking a turn too wide.

Hurt found that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents happen on short trips along city streets, and that weather is rarely a factor in a motorcycle crash—about one in every 50 motorcycle crashes results from inclement weather.

Contact the Proven Personal Injury Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of combined experience to injured people in California, representing clients who have been hurt in any kind of motorcycle accident. To set up a confidential consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. Your initial interview is without cost or obligation.

California Lets Adult Scooter Operators Ride without Helmets

Ride-without-Helmets

Governor Brown Signs Bill to Remove Helmet Requirement

If you’ve joined the thousands of Californians who have embraced scooters as a way to get around town, there’s good news—you won’t be required anymore to bring along and wear one of those pesky helmets—at least, not after January 1, 2019, when the new law goes into effect.

On September 18, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed new legislation that waives the helmet requirement for anyone 18 and over operating a scooter in the state of California. Proponents of the bill say that, as a practical matter, it eliminates the requirement for virtually all scooter operators, as most dockless scooter companies don’t all minors to use their vehicles. Under the legislation, there are minimum requirements that apply throughout the state, but local communities still have the option to impose tougher restrictions.

Advocates for the bill called it a common-sense response to the unique factors that affect scooter rentals. Most medium-to-large cities in California have seen an influx of scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, making electric vehicles that can be picked up and dropped off at almost any location. Scooter enthusiasts say that, because the scooters cannot travel at high rates of speed, the risk of injury is significantly less. In addition, they contend that requiring riders to wear helmets dramatically reduced the inclination of customers to spontaneously opt for a scooter as means of transportation, as most folks don’t carry a helmet with them at all times.

The new law also includes another significant provision unrelated to the use of helmets. Under existing law, scooters were not allowed on roads with posted speed limits in excess of 25 miles per hour. Under the new law, that has been changed to 35 miles per hour.

Contact the Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience helping personal injury victims across California. We know that every fact situation is different. We’ll take the time to learn the details of your accident, so that we can tailor our efforts to get the results you want. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney.

Gathering Evidence after a Motorcycle Accident

Evidence-after-a-Motorcycle-Accident

How to Make the Best Case for Full and Fair Compensation

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have the right to sue for any losses you’ve suffered, from wages and income to unreimbursed medical expenses to loss of companionship and consortium and physical pain and suffering. But it’s rarely an open and shut case—you need compelling evidence to convince a judge and jury that the defendant acted unreasonably and that you suffered damages as a result.

There are a number of ways to gather the necessary evidence to prove your case:

  • The testimony of witnesses—If there was anyone traveling with you or any bystanders who saw the accident, you’ll want to get sworn statements from them as soon as possible after the accident. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that their memories will fade, or that that they may die or move away. Your attorney can prepare an affidavit for a witness to sign, but your lawyer will also want to schedule a deposition, where a court reporter can document the testimony.
  • Physical evidence—This can include photographs of the scene of the accident, skid marks, damage to vehicles or injuries suffered by anyone. Your lawyer will typically have a professional conduct a forensic inspection of the crash site.
  • Expert testimony—It’s pretty common practice to retain an accident reconstruction expert, who can gather data from the crash and reconstruct exactly what happened. A good expert will be able to use existing data to determine speed of any vehicle, whether the vehicle operator applied brakes at all and whether vehicles stopped at lights or stop signs.
  • Police reports—The police report can also provide valuable evidence.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

Contact our office by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to schedule an appointment with an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer. We have protected the rights of injured bikers in California for more than 30 years. We know that every accident has unique circumstances. We carefully investigate the facts and circumstances of your accident, so that we can aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Motorcycle Safety Gear—A Guide for New Riders

Motorcycle-Safety-Gear—A-Guide-for-New-Riders1

So you’ve just discovered the unmatched feeling that comes from cruising down the road on a motorcycle, wind in your face. You know there are risks involved, and you want to take the right steps to maximize your safety. But the sheer number of safety products can be overwhelming. Here are some of the things to look for in safety gear, particularly if you’re new to riding.

Why You Need Safety Gear

Safety gear provides protection from a number of risks:

  • Impact with objects, such as bugs, birds, bushes and other debris—your uncovered skin, bones and organs are not designed to withstand high-speed impact with most items
  • Road rash or abrasion—If you go down and drag your body along the pavement, you can expect to lose a millimeter of skin for every mile per hour you’re traveling over the speed of 30 mph.
  • Inclement weather—You’ve probably heard the term “wind chill.” The faster you travel, the more the actual temperature drops. It might be 55 out, but the real impact on your skin could be like 25°, putting you at risk for frostbite. Good gear can also help keep you cool when it’s hot out by promoting your body’s natural cooling process—sweating.

The Types of Gear You Need

To maximize your safety, you need five items:

  • A good helmet
  • A durable jacket that covers your arms, back, ribs and internal organs
  • Riding pants made of Kevlar, leather or some similar durable material
  • Boots with non-slip soles and good ankle support
  • Gloves that stay on your hands in an accident, that protect your hands, but that also have the flexibility you need to properly operate the bike

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

For a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced lawyers, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to schedule an appointment. We bring more than 30 years of experience to every case we take. Our attorneys know that every accident is different, so we’ll take the time to learn exactly what happened, so that we can help you pursue full and fair compensation for all your losses.

 
 
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