Companies like Uber and Lyft have snowballed with much success in recent years. Big-name ride-share companies like those are changing our nation’s culture of transportation.
One of the modern shifts in transportation we’ve seen from ride-sharing advancements is electric scooters. Electric scooters have become trendy for people of varying age groups. It’s a functional mode of transportation that’s cost-effective and fun. It seems like they popped up just a couple of years ago. Now electric scooters are saturating the technology and transportation markets like none other.
As electric scooters sweep the nation, we’ll also see a rise in accidents. Accidents can involve scooters, vehicles, and or pedestrians. Whether you’re against electric scooters, it can be helpful to be aware of how they function and the laws about them. In addition, as electric scooters continue to permeate cities and communities, citizens should be familiar with the inherent risks and what to do if an electric scooter accident happens.
How Do Electric Scooters Work?
Electric scooters function similar to regular kick scooters, except they are battery-powered. Electric scooters have a motor that can be recharged and left just about anywhere throughout a city. The only restriction is that operators cannot leave them in no-parking zones or block walkways.
The most common way to rent an electric scooter is to download a company’s app. The app usually provides a map of all the scooters nearby. Customers can use their credit cards to reserve and pay for their rental. The charge for use is calculated by distance or time, depending on the company policies.
The Dangers of Electric Scooters
As the use of electric scooters rises, so are trips to the emergency room. Doctors and emergency room employees report dramatic increases in patients coming in with scooter-related injuries. Electric scooters can go as fast as 20 mph. While it may be a low speed for a vehicle, electric scooterists traveling at that speed can sustain severe injuries if an accident occurs.
Similar to motorcycle accidents, there are numerous inherent risks that electric scooters pose. The risks are not only to scooter riders but also to other pedestrians and drivers. The most obvious risk is that scooters are small and quiet, making them less visible and audible to nearby drivers.
Secondly, scooters have wheels much smaller than other motorized transportation modes. That means they are much less stable than a bike or motorcycle. Even a tiny bump in the road can cause a scooter to go haywire. The rider can quickly lose their balance and fall with smaller wheels.
While there is no mandate for specialized training or certification to ride electric scooters, the potential for injury is a real threat to virtually all riders. Countless injuries that vary in severity can result from accidents, improper use, or lack of experience.
To further complicate the associated risks of electric scooters, consider the concept behind them. Scooter rental companies strive to provide increased mobility for pedestrians who want a fast, accessible mode of transportation. Unfortunately, as a result, many, if not most, people renting electric scooters don’t wear safety equipment.
What Are the Laws on Electric Scooter Use?
There are currently no federal laws in place related to electric scooter regulations. But cities have created legislation for scooter safety. Here are a few key points from Colorado’s electric scooter laws:
- Electric scooters are classified as vehicles. They were previously considered toy vehicles.
- Electric bike and electric scooter riders are not held to motor vehicle registration or license requirements.
- Scooter drivers must obey road signs and use the roadway whenever the speed limit is under 30mph. If the speed limit is over 30 mph, they can use the sidewalk, but the speed limit on the sidewalk is six mph.
- Any rider under 18 years old must wear a helmet.
- Electric scooters are subject to traffic violations and fines as everyone else on the road.
- Electric scooters are not allowed to be left in pedestrians’ right of way.
Who Is at Fault for an Electric Scooter Accident?
Accidents are inevitable, no matter how careful you are while riding a scooter. Unfortunately, determining liability after an electric scooter accident is not always straightforward or simple. Consider the following scenarios:
- A Vehicle collision with an Electric Scooter – if a car driver collides with a scooter rider because of negligent driving, the driver is at fault. The driver will be responsible for covering damages done to the scooter and injuries sustained by the scooter operator. More often than not, insurance liability coverage will cover these costs.
- A Scooter rider causes an accident- If a scooter rider causes a car accident by making a turn without a signal or warning, they are at fault. The scooter rider is responsible for any merging or turn accident caused. The scooter driver will be liable for damages to the vehicle and any injuries sustained by passengers.
- A Scooter hits a car – if a scooter operator loses control of the scooter or is not paying attention and runs into a vehicle, they are at fault.
Does Insurance Cover Electric Scooters?
Some cities are beginning to require scooter companies to carry liability coverage for renters. However, no law yet requires liability coverage for scooter renters. Scooter companies generally don’t offer insurance to customers renting scooters. In fact, most of their user agreements are intended to waive any liability from the company.
Car insurance policies usually don’t provide coverage for electric scooters either. However, while not covered by insurance policies, they can still be held accountable for covering damages if a rider is involved in an accident.
Safety Tips to Avoid Scooter Accidents
Here are some precautions to take to prevent scooter accidents:
- Always wear a helmet while riding an electric scooter.
- Try to stay in the bike lanes a much as possible while riding.
- Defensive driving is the best technique. Be cautious and on the lookout for incoming danger or any obstacles to avoid on the road.
- Take the time to read through the user agreement or policy provided by the electric scooter company. This way, you’ll know whether or not a company offers liability coverage.
- Always focus on the road and your surroundings while riding, especially in a city or populated area.
Contact a Denver Electric Scooter Accident Attorney for a Consultation
Our legal team is here to help if you have been injured in an electric scooter accident due to someone else’s negligence.
Contact an experienced electric scooter accident attorney immediately for a free consultation. You need a good attorney to get the total compensation you deserve.