Since the dockless electric scooter company Bird entered the San Antonio market in October 2018, we’ve seen a steady increase in e-scooter crashes and serious injuries. Unfortunately, this trend is likely to continue.
Keep reading to learn more about the rapidly developing world of dockless scooter injury law.
Electric Scooters Are Wildly Popular — and Dangerous
San Antonio is almost six months into its experiment with e-scooters. Since October 2018, we’ve seen at least five scooter companies enter our market, and there are more than 10,000 scooters for rent in the city. If you’ve been downtown, you can’t miss them.
Unfortunately, San Antonio hospitals and first responders have experienced a spike in scooter-related injuries. In just four months, the San Antonio Fire Department responded to 83 scooter-related calls. Almost two-thirds of these calls required a visit to the emergency room.
While many people think electric scooters are simply a fun, easy, and green way to get around San Antonio, these devices can be extremely hazardous. Some scooters can travel up to 15 miles per hour. Riders have relatively little protection, and a crash can cause life-altering injuries, including broken bones, brain injuries, and trauma to the spine.
“While many people think electric scooters are simply a fun, easy, and green way to get around San Antonio, these devices can be extremely hazardous.”
People suffer injuries in a scooter crash for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Cars and trucks colliding with scooters
- Reckless scooter riders hitting pedestrians, bicycles, and other vehicles
- Poorly-maintained or defective scooters malfunctioning and causing injuries
RELATED ARTICLE: How Can We Improve Bicycle Safety in San Antonio?
All Scooter Riders Must Follow San Antonio’s Local Ordinances
Almost immediately after welcoming e-scooters to the city, San Antonio passed a scooter ordinance. Under the ordinance’s rules, scooter riders must:
- Yield to pedestrians
- Obey all traffic laws
- Use bike lanes when available
- Maintain a distance of at least two feet from pedestrians when traveling on a sidewalk
- Ride alone and not carry passengers
- Refrain from driving in parks and on trails, creek ways, or plazas
- Refrain from using a phone or other electronic device while riding
Also, the person driving the scooter must be at least 16 years old, although some companies set higher age limits. While San Antonio encourages the use of bicycle helmets, they are not mandatory for scooter riders.
What Should You Do After a Scooter Crash?
Immediately after a scooter crash, you should call 911. Make sure you provide the authorities with a truthful and thorough explanation of what happened. After notifying authorities, seek medical care for your injuries. If possible, you or someone you trust should take pictures of the crash scene and collect the names and contact information of any witnesses.
RELATED ARTICLE: When Should You Call a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the collision, you may have claims against multiple parties. If a negligent driver collided with your scooter, you should immediately consult a San Antonio injury lawyer and file claims with the driver’s insurance companies. If you’re injured by a reckless scooter rider or because of a defective scooter, your claims may be more complicated.
Scooter companies like Bird, Lime, and Jump do their best to avoid paying compensation to injured victims. The scooters’ user agreements contain clauses that try to limit the companies’ liability and force claims into arbitration (an expensive form of alternative dispute resolution that favors the companies). These companies also frequently try to blame victims for their own injuries by arguing that scooter riders understand and accept the risks associated with the vehicles.
But victims are taking a stand and demanding accountability in defiance of these tactics. In California, nine victims recently filed a class action lawsuit against Bird, Lime, and several other scooter manufacturers. The lawsuits’ plaintiffs say that the dockless scooter business model disregards riders’ health and wellness and puts profits above safety.
In another case, a Florida mother is suing Lime after her 28-year-old daughter was hit by a car while riding a scooter. The young woman is now in a persistent vegetative state and is unlikely to recover. The victim’s mother says the Lime app told her daughter to ride in the road instead of on the sidewalk. In Florida, the law forbids scooter drivers from operating an e-scooter in the roadway.
Because this is an emerging area of the law, it’s not yet clear how judges and juries will handle e-scooter injury claims. At Crosley Law, we are carefully monitoring dockless scooter injury cases throughout the nation and taking notes. We know it’s only a matter of time before San Antonio sees its first fatal e-scooter accident, and we want to be prepared.
Crosley Law: Cutting-Edge Injury Lawyers Handling San Antonio’s Most Complex Claims
At Crosley Law, we’ve built a reputation for our sophisticated approach to personal injury law. We consult with nationally-respected experts, create cutting-edge trial presentations, and deliver compassionate and personalized service to our clients. If you or a loved one suffered serious scooter-related injuries, we’re here to protect your rights and demand compensation for your injuries.
Carville, O. (2018, October 31). As deaths, injuries pile up, so do claims against electric scooter firms. Insurance Journal. Retrieved from https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2018/10/31/506097.htm
Garza, R. (2019, January 30). San Antonio Fire Department data shows surge in e-scooter injuries. The Rivard Report. Retrieved from https://therivardreport.com/san-antonio-fire-department-data-shows-surge-in-e-scooter-injuries/
Mosbrucker, K. (2019, January 17). How much is the city getting from all these electric scooters? San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2019/01/17/how-much-is-the-city-getting-from-all-these.html
San Antonio Dockless Vehicle Ordinance. (2018, October 11). https://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/CCDO/DocklessVehicles/DVOrdinance.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.