Safety and Rentable Electric Scooters
If you spend time in the Salt Lake metropolitan area you’ve probably seen them. People cruising around on rentable electric scooters from the companies Lime and Bird. The electric scooter craze has swept across a number of major US cities and as their popularity grows so do questions about their safety and insurance implications. The following are some of the questions our attorneys get about the scooters from Bird and Lime:
What are some of the dangers associated with the scooters?
One of the more prominent issues we’re seeing in the Salt Lake area is that people primarily ride them on sidewalks. The scooters are supposed to be ridden on the street, just like you’d ride a bicycle. Understandably, scooter riders often feel safer on sidewalks but the reality is that they’re putting themselves and pedestrians at risk of collisions and injuries.
Both Bird and Lime recommend that riders wear a helmet, with Bird even offering free helmets online, however, the majority of riders are going without a helmet. Again, this is leaving riders open to more serious injuries in the case of an accident.
Have there been any injuries to riders of the scooters or pedestrians hit by the scooters?
Yes, to both riders and pedestrians. A report from the Washington Post showed that in one summer following the introduction of the scooters to Santa Monica, CA their fire department responded to 34 serious accidents involving the rentable scooters. ER visits for injuries related to the scooters are increasing across the cities were the scooters have been introduced, including here in Utah.
What are the legal ramifications of accidents on these scooters?
Both Lime and Bird are clear in their respective rental agreements that the rider of the scooter is solely responsible for any injuries or damages caused while riding the scooter.
Is there any sort of “umbrella coverage” the companies provide to protect their riders?
Currently, there is not. While popular rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have company insurance to cover their drivers in the event of an accident, Bird and Lime leave liability completely on the side of the rider of the electric scooter if the scooter causes an accident and responsible for the damages or injuries related to the accident.
Then does it fall on the auto insurance of the scooter driver?
This is where things get more complicated. In the state of Utah, The scooters fall under the classification of a “motor assisted scooter” which by law do not need to be insured to ride. This means that if a pedestrian or other vehicle is hit by someone driving around on one of the scooters, there’s a good chance they’re uninsured.
Even for scooter riders with a current auto insurance policy, their policy may not cover accidents while riding the electric scooters. The rental agreement from Bird suggests, “Your automotive insurance policies may not provide coverage for accidents involving or damage to the scooter.” The safest thing to do for people who frequently use the rentable electric scooters is to call their insurance and ask if their policy covers them.
What about situations where cars hit riders of the electric scooters?
In situations where the car or other large vehicle hit’s a scooter and is at fault for the accident, the rider of the electric scooter has the right to file an insurance claim for fair settlement through the auto insurance of the at-fault driver.
Get in Touch with Us
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving an electric scooter our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help. Regardless of whether you were a pedestrian hit by scooter or a scooter rider hit by a larger vehicle, you deserve a fair compensation for the damages and injuries you suffered.
Call us today at 1-800-404-9000 to set up a free consultation or let us know your story by filling out the online form at the bottom of the page.