Motorized Scooters: What you need to know

Electric Scooter Injuries

Since their introduction in the mid 2000s, electric scooters have been at the center of a colossal number of accidents, resulting in both serious injury and death. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Head injuries and concussions
  • Abrasions, often on the face and hands
  • Long term damage to ligaments and joints

Staying Safe When Riding

Be aware of your ability to ride safely. Avoid riding a scooter if intoxicated, sleep deprived, injured or otherwise have unreliable coordination. Make sure you are wearing proper protective clothing as well. Closed toed shoes, a helmet, and avoiding loose fitted clothing are all essential. Before starting the scooter up, make sure that the scooter itself is in good enough condition to drive, and that the surrounding area isn’t too busy with vehicle traffic to ride safely.

Remember: just like motorcycles, scooters are nearly impossible for cars to see in their rear view mirrors, and in the aftermath of injury lawsuits resulting from these scooters, many cities require that scooters keep to the street, rather than using the sidewalk to ride. In addition, never share your scooter with anyone while riding. The smallest shift in balance can result in disaster. If you are a parent, make sure you supervise your child on a scooter, as many of them do not have age restrictions. Make sure your child understands and respects the rules of the road, their own abilities, and has the patience to make educated decisions about where to ride and when.

When you first turn on the scooter, there is a good chance, depending on your city, that it will ask to scan a drivers license or permit, though this is not always the case. Therefore, it is unwise to assume that someone riding a scooter has a drivers license. To accommodate scooters, many cities have designated special lanes for them in pedestrian areas, but this is far from a guarantee that no pedestrians will cross into these areas. Whether you are a rider or a pedestrian, it is worth noting the traffic environment, the frequency of scooter riders, and the weather conditions that might influence the frequency of accidents. Scooters do not stay in their lanes when they slide on ice.

Liability for Scooter Accidents

The legal outcomes of accidents on motorized scooters will depend largely on who was involved and who is at fault.
Some possible scenarios include:

  • Scooter hits a vehicle: If a scooter swerved causing an accident with another vehicle, the scooter is at fault. The rider of the scooter will most likely need to pay for the damages incurred on the vehicle.

  • Scooter hits a pedestrian: Likewise, if a scooter crashes into a pedestrian, the rider will most likely be held liable for any injuries sustained by the pedestrian.

  • A vehicle hits a scooter: In this scenario, if a vehicle hits a scooter and is at fault, the driver of the vehicle must compensate the scooter rider. The driver of the vehicle can cover damages through their car insurance.
    Scooter companies do not carry any sort of liability coverage for renters. Car insurance will most likely not be of any use when it comes to scooters, as they only have two wheels. With no insurance coverage, the scooter rider takes on tremendous risk if they are found at fault in an accident. With all this in mind, think very carefully before you begin paying to ride.

Things to keep in mind

To protect yourself, remember the following:

  • It is easier to avoid accidents and lawsuits than to deal with them. If riding a scooter, read the terms and conditions, make sure you are in safe physical and mental condition to ride, and make sure that you understand where you are and are not allowed to ride.

  • As a pedestrian, keep a lookout for scooters the way you would any other vehicle. Make sure you are not walking in scooter designated areas.

  • If you get injured or someone else does in a crash involving your scooter, call a lawyer, offer assistance and, if needed, call emergency services. Avoid saying anything that admits fault, like “I’m sorry” or even “oops”. These can be used against you in court.