The Dangers of the Electric Scooter Craze
Convenient, fast, fun – there is no denying that electric scooters have taken America by storm. But these trendy devices didn’t magically pop up on Florida street corners overnight. In fact, Orlando lawmakers are just now paving the way for Lime, Bird, Hopr, and other micro-transportation companies to dock their products in Florida’s famous entertainment mecca. Considering how popular “e-scooters” are, you may be wondering why some cities are hesitant to benefit from the “last-mile” solution.
E-Scooters in Florida
Ideally, e-scooters represent an affordable transportation option that limits vehicle congestion and air pollution. However, like all transportation options, e-scooters are not without their dangers. Last June, Consumer Reports linked 1,500 injuries and 8 traffic fatalities to e-scooters. Likewise, the Sun-Sentinel reports that Fort Lauderdale – one of the first cities to embrace the e-scooter craze – is pondering the safety of these devices after the city suffered 74 injuries and 1 death in a 5-month period. David Blattner, a real estate attorney in Fort Lauderdale, was hit by a negligent driver last December. As he told the Sun-Sentinel, “[E-scooters] don’t mix with cars. They certainly don’t mix with pedestrians.”
Atlanta is also struggling to regulate the e-scooter revolution. Last year, lawmakers permitted nine companies to dock 12,000 scooters in the city. The problem is that most people don’t review – or choose to ignore – Florida’s scooter laws before renting a vehicle. State lawmakers have established speed limits, helmet laws, and age restrictions, but local law enforcement officials are stumped when it comes to policing how people utilize these devices in public spaces. Consequently, Atlanta now leads the nation in electric scooter-related fatalities.
Why Are E-Scooters So Dangerous?
The renting process (usually pay-per-minute) is simple: a customer downloads an app, scans their driver’s license, inputs their credit card information, and then unlocks a nearby scooter of their choice. Interestingly, the second step has created a new problem; underage “teen scooter outlaws” are stealing IDs or purchasing fake IDs to have reckless scooter escapades. Another issue is that Bird and Lime, the giants of the e-scooter trend, are sponsoring bills that allow customers to ride without wearing life-saving helmets, all to increase their profit margins.
Many safety concerns have been linked to electric and motorized scooters, including:
- These vehicles are unstable by design and lack built-in safety features.
- Many riders participate in reckless and negligent behaviors.
- “Scooterists” carelessly leave vehicles in places where pedestrians can trip on them.
- A scooter can be overturned by clutter, uneven pavement, and other roadside hazards.
- Most customers don’t know – or choose to ignore – the state laws and regulations associated with e-scooters.
- Customers tend to skim over a lengthy statement that absolves the micro-transportation company of any liability in the event of an accident.
- Drivers aren’t used to operating a vehicle near e-scooter riders, so there have been many preventable collisions and fatalities in the last year.
- There have been countless incidents where scooterists have been struck by intoxicated, distracted, and speeding motorists.
- Intoxicated, distracted, and speeding riders have also been known to hit pedestrians, cyclists, and even other scooterists.
- People are vandalizing and damaging scooters for social media likes.
- Criminals are attacking and robbing scooterists.
What Injuries Are Associated with E-Scooters?
Last January, specialists at the University of California, Los Angeles completed a study that answers the following question: “What are the types of injuries associated with standing electric scooter use and the characteristics and behaviors of injured patients?” According to their findings, scooterists are frequently admitted into hospital emergency rooms for “fractures (31.7%), head injuries (40.2%), and soft-tissue injuries (27.7%).” Furthermore, a separate study completed by the Austin Public Health and Transportation also reveals that 15% of all e-scooter victims sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
The following injuries are commonly linked to electric scooter accidents:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Craniofacial fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Multiple bone fractures
- Concussions and contusions
- Penetration injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
As you can see, e-scooter riders can sustain severe and even catastrophic injuries during an accident. It’s no wonder that many safety awareness organizations consider e-scooters to be the next transportation epidemic in the United States. For example, Andrew Hardy, a 26-year-old Angelino, was struck by a car going 50 mph last June. He was instantly ejected from the scooter and flew 15 feet in the air before smacking his head on the pavement. According to The Associated Press, he “snapped two bones in each leg, broke a thighbone, shattered a kneecap, punctured a lung and fractured three vertebrae in his neck, in addition to sustaining a head injury.”
MPR News likewise posted an article about e-scooter injuries in Minnesota, which is aptly titled “E-scooters: The good, the bad and the bloody.” In this article, St.Paul resident Lori Korn explained how her nephew hit a pothole and broke every bone in his face. Another resident, April Greibrok, added, “Riders on scooters often take them on the sidewalk, because it is dangerous to ride them in the street, but I have been hit or nearly hit by several scooter riders not paying attention.”
Injured in an E-Scooter Accident? Call The Pittman Firm, P.A. Today!
Personal injury cases involving e-scooters have a limited body of precedent. You’re going to need the services of an innovative and experienced legal professional if your goal is to secure damages. Contact the trial-tested personal injury attorneys at The Pittman Firm, P.A. if you or a loved one has been injured while riding an e-scooter. Of course, we also provide our services to those who have sustained injuries due to the actions of a negligent scooterist. By investigating your case and calculating the value of your claim, we can develop a comprehensive litigation strategy that aims to meet your legal and financial objectives.
We’re available 24/7. Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A.at (850) 764-0383 to arrange a free, no-obligation case evaluation.