Electric scooters are growing in popularity. They let you get from Point A to Point B without traffic and without having to worry about the hassle of a motorcycle license. While they are indeed fun and a great way to get around downtown Philadelphia, these scooters are not as safe as you might think they are.
In fact, one CNN article highlighted just how dangerous these scooters are. One 32-year-old firefighter found himself in a severe accident on his electric scooter after hitting a bump and striking the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet – which is common with most scooter riders.
These scooters give a false impression of safety, and many riders assume that, because they are on the sidewalk, they are not at risk for a serious injury. However, most models can go incredibly fast, and at even 10 miles per hour, an accident on the pavement without a helmet can lead to permanent injuries.
What Is an Electric Scooter, and What Makes It So Dangerous?
Electric scooters, sometimes called E-scooters, are popping up in busy metropolitan cities. Areas like San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and even Philadelphia have them. There are also companies that offer hourly rentals for tourists and locals as an alternative to regular transportation.
However, these are incredibly unsafe, and many companies are ignoring the fact that injuries can happen on these scooters. More importantly, the companies renting them out do not always require helmets, which only increases the risk for a severe injury – such as a traumatic brain injury.
It Is Not Just the Riders at Risk
While riders are the primary group at risk, these are ridden on city streets. This means pedestrians are at risk too for a collision accident with a rider. Likewise, vehicles are at risk for striking a scooter as it crosses the street.
The potential for a severe accident increases further when you add:
- Children riding the electric scooter;
- People riding scooters without helmets;
- People riding scooters on sidewalks;
- Scooters left in the middle of a sidewalk;
- Scooters left in front of buildings that block handicap access, parking lot access, and pedestrian access; and
- People riding scooters together or in tandem.
Factors That Make Electric Scooters Unsafe
Most models of E-scooters can get up to 15 miles per hour. If a rider were struck by a vehicle at this speed, they could suffer catastrophic injuries, including death.
Just some of the risks riders of these scooters face include:
- Riders are not visible to motorists – Even in daylight, riders of these scooters are not as visible to motorists as they think. And when they go zooming across an intersection, a driver may not see them or even look for them. Furthermore, objects like cars parked along the roadway hide a scooter, which makes it harder for a driver to notice them when coming around corners.
- There is no barrier between the rider and the pavement. When you ride in a car, you have doors, sides, a roof, and all sorts of barriers protecting you. In an accident, these serve as a buffer, absorbing the impact and limiting how many physical injuries you sustain. On a scooter, you are exposed completely. That means you are more likely to suffer from lacerations, bruises, broken bones, and possibly a severe head injury.
- Road hazards are more dangerous for scooters. Simple hazards on the roadway become safety threats when you are on an electric scooter. A normal bump in the road might be easy for a car, but that bump can send you flying from your scooter onto the road. Likewise, slick surfaces, leaves, and debris can increase the chances you lose traction.
- Scooters are unstable naturally. Think about a scooter and what it takes to ride one. You need a sense of balance because the scooter might not stand upright on its own. Also, they have a short wheelbase, while you (the rider) has a higher center of gravity. This increases the chance of an accident when you are caught off balance.
- Scooters require more experience than most riders are prepared for. While companies are offering to rent these scooters for a small fee, they might not tell you that some riding experience is needed to use these safely. Unfortunately, because the state does not require any special licensing, inexperienced riders get on these scooters daily and put themselves and others around them at risk.
- Scooters do not have safety devices for quick stops. If you were to brake suddenly, your scooter can lock up and throw you from it.
- Riders of scooters tend to engage in high risk riding behavior. People assume that if they are on a scooter, they have minimal risks for injury. Therefore, they will ride fast, go over bumps, take curbs, and ignore the speed. After all, how seriously injured could you get at only 10 miles per hour? In reality, very serious injuries can occur at 10 miles per hour, including fatal ones.
Who Is at Fault for Scooter Accidents?
Finding the party at fault in accidents where scooters were involved is tricky. Sometimes, the rider of the scooter caused the crash, while other times there is a third party (such as the rental company for the scooter). Sometimes, the at-fault party can be a motorist, another scooter rider, or a pedestrian. If the accident occurred due to defects on a sidewalk, the property owner (such as the City or a private property owner) might be at fault.
The only way to determine who is at fault and who would be responsible financially is to speak with an attorney. An attorney reviews your case thoroughly and not only determines who is at fault, but holds them accountable.
Speak with an Injury Advocate
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a scooter accident, you have rights. Speak with attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq., today to explore those rights. You can schedule a consultation now by calling him directly or you can also reach him online with your questions.