Injured While Riding a Low-Powered Scooter?
Mopeds and other low-powered electric scooters are an energy-efficient and clean way to get around Boulder. However, as convenient as these vehicles are, they have almost zero safety features and, if a rider is struck by a larger vehicle, the rider can suffer traumatic injuries that follow him for the rest of his life.
If you were injured by a negligent driver while riding a moped, you may be entitled to compensation in an auto accident claim. This can include compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, but first you should reach out to a Boulder moped accident attorney at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. If you enter into negotiations with an insurance company without proper representation, you may only receive a fraction of what your case is worth. But if you work with the team at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we can advocate for full compensation. To learn how, call our office at (303) 665-2929 and schedule a no-cost consultation.
The Dangers of Negligent Drivers
Moped accidents are extremely similar to motorcycle crashes. Both rides lack the safety features of a larger vehicle, such as airbags and crumple zones, and riders have to trust that other drivers will not hit them. Unfortunately, the majority of moped and motorcycle accidents are the fault of negligent drivers. This is largely due to the size and speed of these vehicles.
Mopeds are significantly smaller than the average four-door sedan and are not as loud, meaning other drivers may not notice them if they are in a vehicle’s blind spot. If a driver fails to check her blind spots or rear-view mirrors, she may sideswipe a moped while changing lanes. Mopeds are also low-powered vehicles that travel at lower speeds. If the driver of a truck or car speeds, he could cause a serious rear-end collision and throw a moped rider over the handlebars.
At the end of the day, moped riders are often at the mercy of other drivers, who can cause an accident by:
- Failing to check blind spots
- Failing to check rearview mirrors while backing out of a driveway
- Driving while intoxicated
- Using a phone while driving
- Driving while fatigued
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Opening a door in front of oncoming traffic and bike lanes
Any of these actions can severely injure a moped rider, resulting in costly medical bills, weeks to months of lost wages, a lifetime of pain and suffering, and debilitating disabilities.
Common Injuries for Moped Riders
While moped riders typically suffer similar injuries as motorcyclists, they tend to have fewer protections on the road. For one, moped riders are not required to wear a helmet by law and may choose not to because their vehicles are slower than most other electric bikes. Many are not as experienced as most motorcyclists and may not wear other safety gear, such as padded clothing, gloves, and boots. Lastly, mopeds lack many of the advanced features that protect motorcyclists. Modern motorcycles are designed with anti-lock brakes, larger tires, and have more mobility when compared to mopeds.
Based on these facts, moped riders can suffer catastrophic injuries like:
- Severe trauma to the spinal column
- Traumatic brain injuries and closed head wounds
- Lost limbs or amputations
- Multiple fractures
- Road rash
Sadly, many moped accidents are fatal. In such tragic accidents, family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company in order to recover compensation for funeral expenses, any medical bills incurred prior to their loved one’s death, loss of consortium, and other damages.
Colorado’s Moped Laws
The state of Colorado categorizes mopeds as “low-powered scooters” that utilize two to three wheels, do not have a manual clutch, and can be powered by either gasoline or an electric battery. Based on this legal definition, mopeds are not considered motor vehicles, motorcycles, or bicycles and operate in their own unique category. They are treated in the same way as electric scooters like Lyme or Bird.
To operate a moped in Colorado, riders are required to:
- Have a driver’s license, or a minor’s driver’s license if they are under the age of 18
- Wear a helmet if they are under 18
- Have an applicable insurance policy for the moped or a certificate of self-insurance
- Register the moped with the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
In addition, the city of Boulder has its own laws regarding moped and electric scooter use, as outlined by Boulder Revised Code Chapter 7-4, which include:
- Moped and electric scooter riders must display a stopping signal through hand gestures (extending the left arm downward) or brake lights
- Drivers can pass a moped in the same lane so long as they keep a three-foot distance between their vehicle and the moped
- Moped riders cannot lane-split or ride between lanes
- Moped riders cannot overtake or pass four-wheel vehicles in the same lane
- Moped riders may overtake or pass other mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters in the same lane when it is safe to do so
Mopeds can be insured under motorcycle, moped, or scooter insurance policies, which may vary depending on the insurance company. These policies are required to include liability insurance, but they can also include collision coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), and medical payment coverage (MedPay). If you have UM/UIM or MedPay as part of your insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident or need immediate treatment for your injuries.
Why You Should Call an Attorney
Given the lack of protection for moped riders, accidents are often devastating. Riders can be left with costly medical bills and may need weeks to months of physical therapy to fully recover. This means just as much time out of work and being unable to pay for basic expenses, such as rent, groceries, and utilities. However, if your injuries were caused by a negligent driver, a skilled and experienced Boulder motorcycle accident attorney can advocate for full compensation from the insurance company.
At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our firm has helped multiple injured moped riders recover proper compensation after a serious accident. Based on our 30 years of experience, we understand the claims process inside and out and can provide in-depth legal guidance to you. We also work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay us a single dollar unless we win your claim. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (303) 665-2929.