First, there was Uber and Lyft. Then there was Relay Bike Share. You may have recently noticed a new development in the sharing economy, devised as a way to reduce urban congestion: racks of electric scooters available for rent by pedestrians. Popping up across the country, these services offer what appears to be a fun, affordable, and green alternative to driving. Lime and Bird are just two of the companies renting scooters and vying for customers in Atlanta. As the industry appears to be aggressively expanding, we should take time to consider some of the potential hazards that these vehicles present.
A Fun and Easy Way to Get Around the City
Renting an electric scooter is surprisingly easy. Using an app on your phone, you can locate the nearest station to unlock and rent your scooter. When you’re finished, you return to any station you like. You lock up the scooter, snap a photo, and end your ride through the app, which also handles payment. No coins or cash is required, and you use it as much or as little as you like. You pay as little as $1, at a rate of 15 cents per minute.
The fun and ease of renting a scooter hide the significant dangers that are inherent in these vehicles. For starters, you can travel up to 15 miles per hour, which is significantly faster than walking. A fall could result in very serious injuries – from severe lacerations and broken bones to concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
In a recent article posted by CNN, it is noted that electric scooters are no less dangerous than any other motor vehicle, and are, in many ways, more dangerous than riding a bicycle. Emergency room visits due to scooter-related injuries are on the rise, and one man was recently killed in Washington, D.C.
It’s unclear how much attention is given to ensure that the scooters are properly maintained and in good working order. The scooters may be subjected to heavy use, and the rental model does not incentivize users to avoid misusing or abusing them. As a result, the scooters may be subject to unusually high wear and tear, resulting in frequent malfunctions. Reports indicate that many injuries are due to malfunctioning brakes and throttles.
Helmets Are Not Included
To our knowledge, none of the scooter companies provide a helmet. Both Lime and Bird request that their customers wear a helmet while riding and Bird will ship you a helmet for free if you request one through their website. However, there are no helmets available for use at the docking stations. For the spur-of-the-moment renter, this likely means that they are riding without a helmet. And keep in mind that users are encouraged to ride in surface street bike lanes, which means that they are exposed to vehicular traffic.
A Hazard to Pedestrians
There are also reports of accidents involving scooters and pedestrians. Looking to avoid traffic, some users ride on the sidewalk, which is obviously dangerous to pedestrians. However, given the speed of these vehicles, many accidents can also happen at crosswalks and intersections. Whether due to scooter malfunction or unsafe riding, collisions with pedestrians can result in very serious injuries.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
We all want to reduce congestion in our city, but we also need to make sure that these new forms of transportation are safe for everyone – the riders, pedestrians, and even other motorists. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a scooter, talk to one of the experienced attorneys at Slappey & Sadd. We can evaluate your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 888-474-9616 or contact us online in order to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.