What You Should Know About Electric Scooter Accidents
Electric scooters have become quite popular in the last few years, but so have electric scooter accidents. There are many who enjoy riding these vehicles for their style and the ease of mobility that they provide. However, there are also some that have no idea about how to handle this wonderful vehicle safely.
Electric scooters are an emerging new transportation resource that is still in its infancy for adoption and statistics are hard to come by. But, preliminary electric scooter injury statistics show that e-scooter accidents in Tampa are on the rise year over year. Although, even the Tampa city council pointed out that current statistics are likely to be understated. Here we will discuss the many issues and answer some frequently asked questions surrounding electric scooters.
What are the Laws Surrounding E-Scooters in Tampa?
The number of regulations and rules that govern electric scooter operators has increased in recent years as safety concerns have grown. These regulations are designed to reduce the risk of serious injury or death from falls and accidents. In addition to operating your scooter properly, you should also follow safety regulations in your area as they can vary from city to city within Florida.
For example, in Tampa, e-scooter riders are required to have a valid driver’s license or permit. However, Florida state law states that e-scooter riders are not required to have a driver’s license. The two conflicting laws can be confusing and it shows how new regulations in this space are.
Other Tampa regulations state that riders should do the following:
- Follow the local ordinances on where it is legal to ride.
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Yield right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Make an audible noise before overtaking or passing a pedestrian.
- Refrain from riding while intoxicated.
Additionally, even though there are laws surrounding electric scooters, they are not very well enforced and prone to ambiguity. This means that you will likely not have any legal protection if you injure someone while riding. For this reason, it is crucial that you be especially careful when you are out on your scooter.
Am I Required to Wear Protective Gear on an Electric Scooter?
In Florida, while wearing a helmet and protective gear is encouraged, it is not required. However, just because it is not required, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take responsibility for your own safety. The best types of safety equipment to use on electric scooters include, but are not limited to:
- A helmet
- Ankle-covering boots
- A leather jacket
- Long pants made of a thick material
- Protective eyewear
- Reflective or brightly colored clothing
Due to a dramatic rise in e-scooter accidents over the last few years, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Common Causes of E-Scooter Accidents
In 2019, electric scooter riders accounted for 86 million of more than 136 million micro-mobility trips according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission published electric scooter injury statistics showing around 50,000 people visited the emergency room after electric scooter accidents between 2017 and 2019. Additionally, there were at least 27 fatalities. Here are some of the most common accidents that happen around the country from electric scooter accidents.
Riding at Night
Many of the most common types of scooter accidents occur at night. There are many people who like to ride around after dark because they believe it is a more safe and more legal alternative. However, unlike many bicyclists who ride at night, e-scooters and riders are often not equipped with night-time safety gear such as reflectors and lights. If you are going to be riding at night, be sure to wear the proper night-time safety gear and ride only in well-lit areas.
Another type of accident that happens is where the scooter rider makes a sharp turn. If you are riding in a high-speed area, there is simply no way for you to slow down to make sure that you are not going to have an accident. One of the greatest dangers of e-scooters is rapid braking can result in the rider being thrown off the scooter. Be sure to travel at low speeds to give yourself more reaction time to hazards.
Sudden Acceleration or Stops
E-scooters are rather flimsy, lightweight vehicles. While this is a positive feature when it comes to mobility, it can also be a dangerous feature. If the scooter accelerates too quickly, the rider could lose their balance and be thrown backward. If the rider must slam on the brakes, it commonly leads to the person being thrown forward over the handlebars.
Collisions with Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Cars
Collisions and near-misses with pedestrians, cyclists, and cars are extremely common with e-scooters as riders are often on the sidewalk. According to electric scooter injury statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 3 out 5 e-scooter riders were injured on sidewalks. Many riders don’t feel comfortable using bike lanes due to traffic concerns. This makes sense as 10-13%% of e-scooter injuries were the result of being hit by cars.
What are Common Injuries from an Electric Scooter Accident?
Unfortunately, nearly a third of e-scooter accident injuries are head trauma. That is nearly double the rate of injuries to bicyclists. Other common injuries include:
- Sprains and torn ligaments
- Bruises and lacerations
- Paralysis from brain and spinal injuries
- Skull fractures
- Facial injuries
- Broken bones
- Burns from electricity, fires, and battery acid
Also, the severity of the injuries depends largely on the rate of speed riders were traveling at. As popularity grows, there will likely be more electric scooter injury statistics available to show how dangerous these vehicles can be.
Can I Sue if the E-Scooter was Defective?
If the accident was caused by defective components, you may have a case against the manufacturer or owner of the scooter. Product liability cases are notoriously difficult to prove, so you will need the help of an experienced product liability attorney. Some examples of defective e-scooter components that lead to accidents and injuries include:
- Defective batteries
- Defective accelerators
- Defective braking systems
- Defective design
- Defective construction
It is important that you take the time to carefully inspect the scooter you are planning to ride or purchase. Taking the time to be sure that you are going to be using a safe vehicle, and one that has a good warranty will give you peace of mind that if something does happen to your scooter in an accident, you have a good chance of recovering the damages. Always take the time to inspect your scooter and be sure that it has all of the necessary safety items on board before taking it out on the roads.
I was a Pedestrian Injured by an E-Scooter Rider. Can I Sue?
Because of the danger of riding e-scooters on the road, many riders choose to ride on the sidewalk. It makes sense that this can lead to catastrophic collisions with pedestrians. If the rider was acting in a negligent manner, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries you sustained. It is important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Examples of negligence could be riders who fail to obey local Tampa e-scooter ordinances such as:
- Failing to give an audible signal before the rider tries to pass a pedestrian.
- Riding in areas where e-scooters are not allowed.
- Disobeying traffic laws.
- Riding while intoxicated or in an otherwise reckless manner.
A Careless E-Scooter Rider Left a Scooter in the Middle of the Sidewalk and I hit it on my Bike. Can I Sue?
If an e-scooter rider negligently leaves a scooter in an area that may cause an accident for bicyclists or pedestrians, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. To find out whether you qualify for compensation, you should immediately speak with an electric scooter accident attorney. Your attorney will be able to determine whether you should seek compensation from an individual or the company that owns the e-scooter.
How Can an Attorney Help with my E-Scooter Accident Case?
Scooter accidents are usually very serious. Even a small mishap can have very detrimental consequences to the injured rider. If you have been injured in an accident due to a scooter, you may be entitled to compensation. A lawyer specializing in scooter accidents will help you get the compensation that you deserve so that you can heal both physically and emotionally from the experience.
Most importantly, talk to an electric scooter injury lawyer immediately after the accident. Write down exactly what happened, and tell them if anything comes up. Let them know the circumstances leading up to the accident, how you were injured, and what your recovery was like. Do not discuss any details with anyone except your electric scooter injury lawyer. They must be aware at all times of what is going on, and you have to be completely honest and prepared.
At the law firm of Darrigo & Diaz, we have expertise in representing clients in personal injury cases. We’ve been serving the Tampa Bay area for more than 20 years and successfully recovered millions for our clients. We can provide a free consultation where we will discuss your case in confidence. For a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case, contact us 24/7 by calling (813) 774-3341 to discuss your legal options right over the phone.