It’s not always easy to get around in Los Angeles, but electric scooters from companies like Lime and Bird are a new option that’s quickly grown in popularity.
Visit neighborhoods like Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Downtown Los Angeles and you’re bound to see electric scooters from these companies lining the sidewalks, just waiting to be rented.
In August 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that approximately 36,000 scooters in Los Angeles were registered to eight scooter rental companies, including Bird and Lime. These rentable electric scooters are meant to give people a simple and affordable way to get around a little bit faster. But unfortunately, it’s very easy for people to get hurt while using them. Between the beginning of September 2017 and the end of August 2018, 249 emergency room visits involving electric scooters were reported at UCLA hospitals in Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Consumer Reports
Common causes of electric scooter accidents
Scooters are much smaller than other types of motorized vehicles, which makes them less visible to other drivers. This puts scooter riders at a high risk for being hit by people in cars, not just by people driving cars, but by people exiting parked cars who may not think to check for scooters and bicycles before opening their door into traffic.
Poor road conditions
Even though California law requires scooters to be ridden in roadways, poorly maintained roads can easily lead to an accident. Electric scooters aren’t very stable vehicles, so bumps in the road or swerving to avoid a pothole can easily cause a rider to lose control of the scooter.
Companies that rent electric scooters to the public have a responsibility to make sure their products are reasonably safe to use. When people rent scooters, they have no way of knowing whether or not it’s been properly maintained. If a scooter malfunctions while in use, the rider can get hurt if the malfunction causes them to crash or fall down. In a 2019 survey by Consumer Reports, 8% of respondents said they had used a scooter that malfunctioned or didn’t work properly.
Negligent scooter riders
While many scooter accidents involve users being hit by cars, accidents between scooters and pedestrians are another major problem. Electric scooters are most commonly found in busy areas of town with lots of pedestrian traffic. Electric scooters typically reach maximum speeds around 15 MPH, and while that might not sound like much, it’s enough speed to cause very serious injuries in accidents involving pedestrians.
Under California law, scooters are required to be ridden in the streets, but many people still ride on the sidewalks anyway. Riding on sidewalks is one of the most common types of citations the LAPD issues to scooter riders. Not only are locals often unaware of the law, so many people come to Los Angeles as tourists and are used to following scooter laws that apply in their hometown. Even when scooter rental companies place stickers on their scooters warning people to not ride on the sidewalk, people often ignore those notices.
Injuries caused by scooter accidents
Scooter riders and pedestrians don’t have the benefit of being protected by the kinds of safety features that protect car occupants. Scooter accidents can easily cause a wide range of serious injuries, including:
Damages in an electric scooter claim
If you’ve been injured while using a Bird, Lime, or another type of electric scooter, some types of damages you can collect in a lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation costs
Contact a Los Angeles scooter injury lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a scooter accident, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a scooter injury lawyer. As scooter accidents become more common, you need someone on your side who won’t let companies like Lime and Bird take advantage of you or let negligent drivers/scooter riders avoid responsibility. When you work with The Wallace Firm, our scooter injury lawyers are ready to fight for you. We’re in it to help you win and we’ll fight for you to get all of the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us today for help with your claim.