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.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

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.

Electric Moped Usage Expected to Increase

Rental Programs Being Expanded Nationwide

Electric Moped Usage Expected to IncreaseIt may seem like electric scooters have taken over many American cities—companies such as Bird and Lime have seen phenomenal growth over the past few years. There’s another wave coming, though, say industry watchers and experts, as electric moped rental programs are becoming more available and more popular across the country. From Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, from San Francisco to Pittsburgh, it’s becoming easier and easier to rent, ride and drop off an electric moped. Users say they are often comparable to public transportation and typically cheaper than ride-share options such as Lyft and Uber.

The Difference between a Scooter and a Moped

One of the fundamental differences between a scooter and a moped involves the function of the motor. On a scooter, the motor is intended to provide all locomotion, whereas a moped acts more like a hybrid between a bicycle and a motorcycle. With a moped, the rider can still pedal and the motor augments pedaling. The laws governing (and even defining) electric mopeds vary from state to state. In California, for example, scooters and motorized bicycles don’t require a motorcycle-specific operating license and can be driven without being registered with the DMV. A moped, conversely, requires a specific motorcycle license (M1 or M2) and must be registered.

Thus far, electric moped sharing programs have not involved as much controversy as electric scooters. Advocates say that while scooters tend to be left just about anywhere, the mopeds typically must be left in designated motorcycle spots or street parking.

Contact the Proven Personal Injury Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have helped injured people in California for over three decades, including people who have suffered needless injury in motorcycle and scooter mishaps. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 
 
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