What Are Electric Scooters? What Are They Used For?
Electric scooters or “e-scooters” are an evolving method of transportation in the Washington DC area. Anyone that has traveled around the city has noticed these scooters zooming past them or lying on the sidewalks.
Rental motorized scooter companies have provided a unique way to save time during your daily commute or enjoy the city on a sightseeing trip. Over the past several years, many companies have emerged as the leaders in this industry. Notably, Bird, Lime, Spin, Skip, and Jump by Uber all provide rental scooters in the Washington, D.C. area. The increase in popularity and quantity of scooters has also caused an increase in the number of related injuries. Scooters are considered personal mobility devices and regulated under DC code § 50–2201.04a .
How Are Electric Scooters Dangerous?
Scooters are a great way to get around the city in a timely and environmentally friendly way. However, they pose several injury risks. If you use an electric scooter, you need to be aware of the injury risks associated with riding a scooter.
As reported by forbes.com, researchers from the University of California – San Francisco published a report in the JAMA Surgery about the rise in electric scooter accidents. They found that there is an alarmingly high proportion of people with head injuries. The team also found that you are much more likely to suffer a head injury when riding a scooter than a bicycle. Helmets are strongly encouraged for riders.
Scooter accidents can be caused by many different reasons. New riders are at risk of injury because of the difficulty of riding these scooters. The wheels are small, and the wheelbase is short, making for an unstable ride.
Even experienced riders are at risk. Sidewalks and roads pose many threats. Sidewalks are littered with trash bins, poles, bumps, and pedestrians. Road risks include swerving cars, trucks, and pedestrian crossings. Remember to always be alert while riding and follow the safety tips below.
How Riders Can Stay Safe
If you are going to ride in the city, here are some things that you should know:
Safety Tips for Riders
- Always wear a helmet.
- First-time riders should practice in an open and safe area.
- Do not use cellphones while riding.
- Do not ride at night.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Watch for obstacles in your path such as trash cans, poles, curbs, and uneven pavement.
- Follow the rules of the road.
Rules of the Road
- Maintain safe speeds.
- Ride in the direction of traffic.
- Always yield to pedestrians.
- Leave crosswalks free and clear for pedestrians.
- Stop at all red lights and stop signs.
- Stay in bike lanes when available.
- Do not ride on sidewalk inside the Central Business District.
When you finish your ride
Please be considerate of where you leave your scooter. You do not want others to trip over a scooter. Several incidents of people tripping over scooters and breaking bones have been reported. Californiacitynews.org reported that an 88 year old woman filed a lawsuit against Lyft after she tripped over an electric scooter and fractured her hip and elbow.
After you ride remember to:
- Use the kickstand.
- Do not leave the scooter lying on the ground.
- Never leave the scooter in the middle of a bike pathway or sidewalk.
At Regan Zambri Long PLLC, we have more than 100 years of combined experience in providing legal aid to our fellow community members. If you or someone you know has been injured in an electric scooter accident, contact our personal injury team immediately for a free case evaluation.