Electric scooters, or “e-scooters,” are the latest micro-transportation fad to hit the streets of Florida. However, as we discussed in a previous blog, these vehicles aren’t exactly the safest means of recreational transportation. In fact, there is one concern that has lawmakers and safety experts in a tizzy: A customer can rent a scooter without knowing or understanding Florida’s e-scooter laws and regulations. As a result, thousands of negligent “scooterists” are suffering fall injuries, running into people (and each other), and being hit by larger vehicles. This factor is concerning because e-scooter accident liability represents an untested legal frontier, and most micromobility companies are protected by a lengthy and skim-worthy waiver.
In 2020, there is bound to be an influx of electric scooters docking in Florida’s most populated cities. To help you stay safe and out of a courtroom, the Pittman Firm, P.A. has compiled a list of e-scooter regulations and liability concerns you need to be aware of both now and in the coming years.
In Florida, an electric scooter is only street-legal if it has a seat or saddle. While a scooter does not have to be registered with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLMSMV), a renting customer does need to be licensed before operating a vehicle within the state. As a fun note, if your scooter has an engine over 50cc, it is technically considered a motorcycle and is therefore bound by Florida’s motorcycle laws.
Before renting or purchasing an e-scooter, you must have a clear understanding of the following rules and regulations:
Despite these laws, it is not unusual to see a negligent scooterist weaving through sidewalk-bound pedestrians and passing motorists. But many drivers tend to get flustered and angry around scooterists because they don’t know how to safely navigate around or in consideration of them. If either party is distracted or makes a mistake, it could easily result in a severe collision that has fatal consequences.
And what about the liability issues surrounding geo-fencing? There has been a significant increase in the number of pedestrian accidents and injuries since the introduction of the electric scooter. To address this issue, micromobility companies are testing geo-fencing options in multiple states – and to questionable results. Geo-fencing is a GPS-based service that allows companies to broadcast virtual fences in designated areas to create no-parking and no-ride zones. If a scooterist accidentally enters a geo-fenced area, their vehicle will automatically stop or slow to 5 mph.
This may seem like a great idea, but two critical problems have yet to be addressed:
What happens if a rider is thrown off a scooter and lands in front of a passing car? In other words, who is liable when an e-scooter accident occurs?
Because electric scooters lack built-in safety features, even a minor accident can result in catastrophic and fatal injuries. Treatments, surgeries, ongoing therapy and rehabilitation services – it’s no surprise that even a “minor” collision can set a survivor back a good $10,000. Fortunately, an injured scooterist (or scooter victim) may have grounds to file a claim against the negligent party responsible for their injuries and financial losses.
But which parties can be held liable in Florida? The answer to this question is dependent on the circumstances surrounding a collision. For example, a plaintiff may be able to file a claim against:
Contact the personal injury lawyers at The Pittman Firm, P.A. if you require legal representation after an e-scooter collision. Our legal team can investigate your case, calculate the maximum value of your claim, and negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company on your behalf. If necessary, we can take your case to court and litigate for a favorable verdict that reflects your injury-related losses and debts.
Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A. at (850) 764-0383 to arrange a free consultation today.