Many cities throughout the states have growing electric scooter cultures. In Denver, electric scooter companies offer rentals throughout the city. E-scooters are growing in popularity because they are incredibly convenient and fun for riders. However, accidents are also a growing problem.
E-scooters are a great new mode of transportation, but they come with some dangers. With so many e-scooters throughout the city, accidents are bound to happen. Pedestrians, cars, bikers, and other scooter riders can be involved in e-scooter accidents. This article will discuss the prevalence of e-scooter accidents and injuries in Denver and the laws about E-scooters.
Denver News Report Shows Daily Emergency Room Injuries From Electric Scooters
Denver7 reported daily emergency room injuries from e-scooters over the summer. In the article, they interviewed an Emergency room physician at Denver health. He said he would be surprised if he did not see any emergency e-scooter injuries. The most common injuries the physician saw were broken arms and legs, but they are often more severe than that. Traumatic brain injuries are also common injuries from e-scooter accidents.
Lime and Lyft, two big-name e-scooter companies, encourage riders to wear helmets while using e-scooters. However, many riders fail to wear a helmet. Scooters are becoming popular because people seem to be using them as an alternative to driving after drinking alcohol. However, experts say this is not a good idea.
Denver scooter riders are supposed to ride them on the streets wherever possible rather than on the sidewalk. This rule is in place to keep pedestrians safe from harm. One possible solution to make scooters safer is to create protected bike lanes that are shielded from traffic that scooters can use.
Electric Scooter Laws in Colorado
E-Scooters are legal in Denver. However, after a surge in e-scooter accidents in 2019, the city made restrictions on e-scooter use.
As of 2021, only two companies have licenses to offer their scooters throughout the city: Lime and Lyft. While there were previously five companies operating e-scooters in Denver, DOTI thought that fewer operators would be more beneficial to the city for safety and regulation purposes. They also felt it was essential to have more than one operator to ensure competitive pricing and product. Lawmakers also believe electric scooters can help reduce single-person motor vehicle use.
The issue with e-scooters is that they can pose a danger to pedestrians walking on crowded sidewalks. In addition, if a car crashes into an e-scooter, the scooter operator is likely to end up with severe injuries. That’s because they travel fast and don’t have the same protective barrier as car drivers.
Are Electric Scooters Dangerous?
Electric scooters can be dangerous. An article from the Denver Post reported 11 electric scooter fatalities in the US between 2018 to 2019. Individual scooter accidents are prevalent, but sometimes a negligent driver or other third party causes accidents. If that happens, the outcome can be severe or even catastrophic for the scooter rider. Some factors that can increase the risk of riding e-scooters are:
- Riding in areas of high congestion
- Navigating obstacles on the road
- Traveling on uneven surfaces
- Making turns
- Riding on the street without protection from motor traffic
Electric Scooter Accident Statistics in Denver and the US
Public health officials deemed e-scooter injuries a health crisis in 2019. Denver scooter riders logged 2.78 million miles from 2018 to 2019. In addition, a 2019 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a surge in emergency room visits after electric scooters became legal in big cities. The CDC’s 2019 study also reported:
- About 45% of all e-scooter injuries involved head trauma
- The other most common injuries after head trauma are:
- Upper extremity fractures (27%)
- Lower extremity fractures (12%)
- The rate of e-scooter injury rate is about 14 per every 100,000 trips
- The median age of injured people is 29 years old
- The majority of e-scooter injuries occur on the street, with 18% involving motor vehicles
Another 2019 study by Consumer Reports showed that:
- There were eight traffic fatalities in the US from rental e-scooters in 2017
- They launched an investigation into 110 hospitals in 47 US cities in 2017 and found 1,500 recorded injuries.
- Experts say that part of the issue is that roads and sidewalks are not designed for e-scooter riding.
- CR’s survey reports that 27% of people who have used e-scooters are unsure which traffic laws to follow. The same survey reported:
- 51% of riders report riding on the sidewalk
- 26% report riding in a bike lane
- 18% report riding in the street but (not in a bike lane)
- More than a quarter of users report a pedestrian getting in their way while riding an e-scooter
- 20% say they felt unsafe around motor vehicle traffic
- 8% reported scooter malfunctions
Are Electric Scooters More Dangerous Than Cars?
Scooters are not necessarily more dangerous than cars. However, since scooter operators don’t have the protection of a vehicle, the outcome can be more severe. If a scooter operator gets into an accident alone, the outcome can be serious injuries. But if a car is involved, the risk for severe injuries significantly increases. A scooter accident at low speeds can produce severe injuries depending on how the rider falls. Remember that head injury is the most common outcome of scooter accidents. If head trauma causes a traumatic brain injury, the victim can potentially face permanent disability.
Common Causes of Denver E-scooter Accidents
There are many causes of e-scooter accidents; sometimes, the rider causes them, but another driver, pedestrian, biker, or scooter malfunction can cause an accident. Some other causes of e-scooter accidents include:
- Lack of operator experience
- Unsafe roads or road conditions
- Inclement weather conditions
- Careless riding
- Violating traffic laws
- Failure to wear a helmet while riding
- Listening to music while riding
- Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Riding while high
- Riding after dark, poor visibility
- Failure to see oncoming pedestrians or bikers
- Riding on the sidewalk
Common Denver E-scooter Accident Injuries
E-scooter accidents can yield injuries similar to trip and fall injuries. They often involve falling off and landing on the ground. If a person uses their hands to break a fall, they might sustain upper limb injuries. Or, if they fall backward, they might sustain head or back injuries. Some of the most common e-scooter injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Dislocated bones
- Back injuries
- Facial trauma
- Internal injuries like organ damage
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Personal Injury Claims for E-scooter Accidents
Electric scooter accident victims could seek compensation for their injuries if another person’s negligence caused them. To file a personal injury claim, you must show the other party was liable for their injuries.
Who Is Liable for an E-scooter Accident in Denver?
Any of the following parties can be liable for an electric scooter accident in Denver:
- A motor vehicle operator
- The e-scooter operator
- A pedestrian
- A cyclist
- The e-scooter company
Your Denver personal injury lawyer can help review your case details and determine who is liable for the accident. For example, if you operated a scooter and were partially liable for causing the accident, you can still recover partial damage. That’s because Colorado follows modified comparative negligence laws. This means that the plaintiff, or injury victim, can recover damages, but their percentage of fault will reduce their compensation.
Do I Need Insurance to Ride an E-scooter in Denver?
No, you do not need insurance to ride a scooter. But, if you get into an accident with a vehicle while riding an electric scooter, your car insurance policy might cover some of the damages. Check with your auto insurance provider about the specifics of your policy. Some policies cover injuries you sustained if you were not at fault for the accident.
Damages in a Denver E-Scooter Accident Lawsuit
You can recover damages in an accident to compensate you for accident-related losses. Damages can be economic or non-economic. Examples of economic damages include:
- Current and future medical bills related to the accident
- Lost wages due to missed work
- Future lost earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages include losses that don’t have a fixed value, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
Filing an E-scooter Accident Personal Injury Lawsuit
After a Denver e-scooter accident, you have a time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit. That time limit is known as the statute of limitations. Colorado’s statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is two years. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims involving motor vehicles is three years. It depends on the type of accident you were in.
However, Colorado passed legislation categorizing e-scooters as “toy vehicles” rather than motor vehicles. Since the time limits you follow are circumstantial to your case details, it’s best to consult a skilled Denver personal injury lawyer for advice. If you wait too long, you could
Forfeit your chance at recovering compensation.
Contact Our Denver Attorneys for E-Scooter Accidents
If you were involved in an e-scooter accident with another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist, our legal team could help you. Or, if you sustained injuries due to a negligent scooter operator, we can also help you.
We have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases and are ready to fight for you. With the training, experience, and resources to win your case, we are the strongest legal team in Colorado to win you justice.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation, or call (720)500-HURT.