We recently discussed the dangers e-scooters have been posing to riders and pedestrians across the country, but there is a new lawsuit coming out of Florida that may pave the way for safer regulations across the country.
Whether you’re driving or walking through the city, you are sure to pass by a row of Bird or Lime Scooters parked on the sidewalk. While they offer convenience to the everyday commuter, they are also responsible for an increase in rider and pedestrian accidents across the country. The Journal of the American Medical Association has released their study on e-scooters in the Southern California area, and their findings are shocking.
DEEP ELLUM— A simple Bird scooter ride almost cost one man without a leg. Arlington resident Alexander Forney, 21, was riding a Bird scooter in Deep Ellum this past August when he “tapped the brake a little too hard” which sent him sailing over the handlebars into the pavement.
Several weeks after the e-scooters made their debut in Dallas, Uptown resident Kelley Mitchum underestimated the speed at which she was traveling and ended up in a severe crash. Upon turning a corner too quickly, she was launched headfirst into McKinney Avenue’s trolley tracks. The $1.38 rental resulted in a hefty emergency room bill, treating her two black eyes, scraped arms and knees, and a laceration in her forehead which required stitches.
original article found on The Dallas Observer
No matter your walk of life, there’s a better than zero chance that when presented with cheap, two-wheeled motorized transportation on demand, you’re going to give in. There’s also a better than zero chance that once you’ve begun to scoot on your Lime or Bird scooter, you’ve wiped out.
Eating pavement, it seems, is an inevitable consequence for some scooter commuters, raising the question: Who’s responsible for paying for all of these inevitable accidents?
In the vast majority of cases, the person who rents the scooter has no personal injury claim if they sustain injuries as a result of the ride. Same goes for injuries to someone the rider hits or any property damage caused.
The renter of a scooter has a duty to be careful, just like the renter of a rental car does. If someone rents a car and is a irresponsible driver, that’s hardly the car rental company’s fault.
Renting a Bird or Lime scooter or bike requires riders to do a couple of things that limit the company’s responsibility. First, riders have to agree to a comprehensive user agreement, in which they promise that they are legally allowed to ride the bikes, will only use the bikes where they are allowed to be used and, in Lime’s case, that they are “are familiar with the operation of the product, and are reasonably competent and physically fit to use the product.” Lime and Bird also require that people hoping to unlock a scooter scan their driver’s licenses to prove that they are of age and meet Dallas city requirements.
If a user does something like ride one of the scooters on the sidewalk in Deep Ellum or downtown, which is against city rules, it isn’t Lime or Bird’s problem. Same goes for riders who fail to obey traffic laws or cause an accident through user error.
If a particular renter of a scooter decides he wants to run a red light or dart out on the scooter in front of traffic or travel at an unsafe speed, the scooter company is not going to hold any liability for irresponsible or uneducated operation of their rental scooter.
The only way that Lime or Bird can possibly expose themselves to liability is if they make defective or improperly maintained scooters available to riders. Even in the case of scooters that have been tampered with or altered — as has happened in other cities served by Lime and Bird — the companies wouldn’t be on the hook.
If someone, through illegal actions, tampers with the scooter and injures someone, the scooter company will not be responsible as long as the scooter company has taken reasonable precautions to ensure that doesn’t happen.
The biggest adverse effect of scooter accidents on the companies could come if the Dallas City Council decides not to extend the six-month pilot program during which the scooters are allowed to be in Dallas.
It is believed if Dallas sees too many accidents or incidents over the next few months, regardless of who’s at fault, it is not sure that the City Council will extend this trial period past the six months that they’ve decided to allow scooters. We might not see any scooters in downtown Dallas nine months from now if there’s too much controversy or too many accidents. On the other hand, we could see 10 times as many. How bad are the incidents? How safe are people being? The answer is simply: it depends.
DALLAS — A woman living in Uptown is dealing with some fairly intense injuries after she crashed an electric rental scooter last weekend during her first ride.
The woman, Kelley Mitchum, told WFAA that she was with friends at a restaurant on McKinney Avenue and decided to try out the new scooters.
At the end of June, the City of Dallas passed regulations for bike share companies that many in the city have been asking for.
They also gave the green light to a six-month trial run for electric rental scooters—which travel up to 15 mph after the rider pays a fee.
You can’t ride on sidewalks in the Central Business District (which includes Deep Ellum and Downtown Dallas), and you can’t ride in a street where the speed limit is over 35 mph.
Companies like Lime and Bird both dumped hundreds of scooters almost immediately after everything went through.
But, when Mitchum hopped on her Lime scooter, she said that she flipped over it face first whenever she rode over the trolley tracks on McKinney.
“I did a block, and when I came back around I was going a little fast,” Mitchum said. “I hit where the trolley exchanges, and I just lost control and tumbled.”
Mitchum, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, hit her face on the road and had to be taken to the emergency room. Her injuries aren’t severe, but she does have some pretty bad road rash, a gash on her nose, and two black eyes.
“It cost me $1.38 for the ride, and probably a couple thousand dollars for my trip to the emergency room,” Mitchum said.
One car accident attorney in Beverly Hills said he gets two to five calls a day from people wanting to lawyer up after they crash a scooter.
The attorney said scooter accidents are becoming a common thing, and his phone won’t stop ringing. Dallas is being warned the calls will start to pour in soon.
Mitchum said that wasn’t hard to believe considering her circumstances.
She said that it’s easy to overestimate the two-wheeled transportation if you’re not careful. Not to mention, there’s a lot of bumps in the road (like those trolley tracks) that could cause you to have a spill if you hit them.
“When you hit the cement at 17 miles per hour, it hurts,” Mitchum said.