Who Is Liable When Electric Scooters Cause Injury?
E-scooters, such as Bird, Lime, Lyft, Razor, and Spin, have become increasingly popular in Boulder. The city allows scooter-sharing companies to maintain rental centers throughout the city limits for potential riders, and those riders jumped aboard them rather quickly. However, as e-scooter use has increased, so have accidents and injuries. Whether the accident was caused by a reckless scooter rider, careless pedestrian, or negligent driver, do not hesitate to contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (303) 502-5587 to speak to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney after an e-scooter accident.
The Risks of E-Scooters
While e-scooters provide a convenient way to explore Boulder, they also come with a number of risks. There share many of the same safety issues as bicycles and mopeds, due to the lack of protection. By comparison, cars have seatbelts, airbags, and shock-absorbing frames that protect them at all times, while scooter riders have no such protections. They also do not have the safety regulations that govern bicycles, such as helmet laws.
As a result of this deficiency, a scooter accident at low speeds could cause more serious injuries than an automobile accident that occurs at a similar velocity. Although electric scooters may reduce single-occupant motor vehicle use, they can be a hazard on city streets because they travel faster than pedestrians. Riding in heavily congested areas, traveling on uneven surfaces, and navigating obstacles can be hazardous – for both riders and pedestrians.
These concerns are supported by extensive studies. Researchers found that the injury rate for e-scooters was 14.3 per 100,000 trips, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among these injuries, the most common were head injuries, followed by upper extremity fractures (27%) and lower extremity fractures (12%). The majority of these injuries occurred in the road, with 29% involving first-time riders and 18% involving motor vehicles. Half the people interviewed in the CDC study said their injuries may have been caused by cracks, potholes, or surface conditions in the streets, suggesting that these devices are not as street friendly as otherwise marketed.
What Are the Laws on E-Scooters in Colorado?
In Colorado, e-scooters are legal to ride on the streets but subject to local regulation. Previously, they could only be operated on sidewalks. Now, with HB19-1221, e-scooters are excluded from the definition of toy vehicle and included in the definition of a vehicle. Riders have the same rights and duties as riders of electric-assisted bicycles. Local government is authorized to regulate the operation of electric scooters in a manner no more restrictive than how electric-assisted bicycles are regulated.
How Can You Establish Liability for a Scooter Accident?
The person who caused the e-scooter accident is liable for any injuries sustained. In accidents involving e-scooters and pedestrians, the crash may be the fault of the rider or the pedestrian. For example, if a pedestrian steps out suddenly into the path of an oncoming scooter rider and the rider is not violating any city codes, then the pedestrian may be held liable for the accident. If the driver of a car opens a car door directly into the path of an oncoming e-scooter rider who is traveling correctly in the bike lane, the driver may be held liable for the rider’s injuries.
If you have been hurt in an electric scooter accident, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (303) 502-5587. Our Boulder personal injury attorneys can investigate every angle of your e-scooter accident to determine fault and liability and effectively pursue a claim for compensation on your behalf.