Electric scooters are becoming increasingly common around the country. Not only are people buying personal scooters, but companies like Lime, Bird, and Spin are making it easy to rent e-scooters on the go.
Advocates for electric scooters argue that they are functional and effective ways to reduce traffic congestion and make traveling around cities easier. However, they don’t account for these devices’ risks to riders and pedestrians. In fact, as e-scooter popularity has risen, so has the risk of serious accidents. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of electric scooters, why accidents are increasing, and how to get help for your e-scooter injuries.
The Rise of Electric Scooters
Over the past decade, alternative forms of travel have taken off. What started with a few bike-share programs in major cities has become a genuine social change. Today, many people who used to walk, drive, or take public transport opt to use alternatives like electric scooters instead.
E-scooters have a number of benefits that make them appealing to consumers, such as:
- Speed: The average e-scooter can reach speeds of more than 20 mph, significantly faster than the average person’s walking speed.
- Portability: Most electric scooters weigh less than 50 lbs, and many can fold for easy storage. That makes them easy to carry and maneuver even in crowded areas.
- Ease of use: E-scooters don’t require users to pedal and can be used while standing, so they don’t limit what riders can wear. This makes them significantly easier to use than alternatives like bikes.
However, these features are also responsible for some of the biggest risks scooters pose to riders, pedestrians, and other road users.
Risks Faced by Scooter Riders
The speed, accessibility, and functionality of e-scooters can obscure how dangerous they are. For example, their speed makes any injuries riders suffer significantly worse. Similarly, their accessibility encourages riders to use them without basic protections like helmets. However, even if riders are perfectly responsible, they still face other risks:
- Drivers: The small size of scooters makes it harder for drivers to spot them. This is a problem because many municipalities require powered devices to be ridden in the road, not on the sidewalk. This puts riders at significant risk of getting hit by cars, trucks, and city buses.
- Poor road or sidewalk conditions: Scooters have no suspension to speak of. Their small wheels and the rider’s standing position mean that potholes, cracks, and other infrastructure issues are significantly more likely to cause accidents than they are with cars or bikes.
- Mechanical failures: Riders who use public or private scooter-share programs must rely on those organizations to keep their fleet in good repair. Unfortunately, as the e-scooters face heavy use and are typically stored outside, they are often in poor repair. Mechanical faults can cause serious accidents, especially issues like faulty brakes or damaged controls.
As more people begin using e-scooters, these accidents will continue to rise.
What to Do If You Are Hurt in an Electric Scooter Accident
As electric scooter accidents continue to increase, it’s worthwhile to understand your options if you’re injured. If you suffer an e-scooter injury caused by someone else’s negligence, here’s what to do:
- Get medical care: It’s always important to get a medical exam after an accident, especially if you hit your head or take a fall. Seeking immediate care can help you keep your injuries from worsening and begin a paper trail if you need additional care.
- Document the accident: If you can, take pictures and videos of the scene of the accident. Get the name and contact information of the person who hit you and any witnesses. This ensures you can support your claim if you need to take legal action.
- Consult with a skilled e-scooter accident attorney: An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what compensation you deserve from your own insurance and that of the liable party. They will guide you through getting the funds you need to recover from your injuries, whether that requires negotiating with the insurance companies or taking your case to court.
At The Wakeford Law Firm, we specialize in helping personal injury victims like you. We can help you file insurance claims and pursue just compensation for your electric scooter injuries. Learn more about how our San Francisco e-scooter accident law firm can help you by scheduling your consultation right away.