E-scooters have taken the globe, nation and even Atlanta by storm. Since the fall of 2017, this convenient form of transportation has popped everywhere there is a need for alternate forms of mobility. But not everyone is aware of the safety risks of riding one, or how to best accommodate these riders in the urban areas.
When they first appeared on the scene, e-scooters were seen as the latest and greatest form of micro-mobility. However, now that their numbers have increased and clogged streets and sidewalks all over the globe, they are not as welcome as they once were. This is mainly due the dangers they pose not only to the riders, but to those sharing the roads and sidewalks with them.
Some cities have gone so far as to claim them a public nuisance. In a few states, there have been several lawsuits filed against e-scooter manufacturers for injuries resulting from faulty brakes and wheels, among other malfunctions. In Atlanta, a recent law was passed that prohibits e-scooter riders from riding or parking the scooters on the sidewalks. Anyone who violates these rules could face a fine of up to $1,000.
There is no doubt that riding an e-scooter can be dangerous. So far, more than 8 deaths have been blamed on e-scooters, and there are have been a countless number of riders that have had to be treated in the emergency room as a result of being injured while riding one. Atlanta area hospitals see nearly 100 patients a month for e-scooter related injuries. Some of these injuries have been severe involving broken bones, traumatic brain injury and other head injuries that can leave a person permanently injured. It has come to point where the Centers for Disease Control recently embarked on study to evaluate the health risks and injuries associated with e-scooters.
The design of the scooters also makes them inherently dangerous. The e-scooter’s small wheels make them difficult to navigate on terrain that’s not perfectly smooth, and the lack of a seat makes them even less safe for riders. E-scooter manufacturers have pledged to invest more in making the devices safer for their riders. Proper directions and warning labels need to be placed on the e-scooter so that riders have clear directions on how to use them, but also know that these can still pose some danger to the rider. There have still been several cases, however, where scooters had to be pulled from circulation due to manufacturing defects that resulted in scooters catching on fire due to battery failure. There have been other instances where the brakes have failed on the scooter causing injury to its rider. This is why it is so important to inspect the e-scooter before riding it.
Another big reason why there have been so many injuries is that most people are not wearing helmets, or any safety gear, when riding one. When a rider checks-out an e-scooter, there is no option for them to check out a helmet as well. And since the decision to ride an e-scooter is usually spontaneous, the rider probably won’t have any safety gear with them to wear for protection. E-scooter companies claim to be working on a fix for this problem. Riders have also been known to engage in risky behavior while riding, such as riding under the influence or having more than one rider on a scooter at a time. While it should be obvious that one should not ride an e-scooter while under the influence of any drug or alcohol, Georgia has enacted a specific law that classifies operating an electric mobility device as another form of a DUI. While this law was originally enacted to apply to the popular Segway devices, it could also be applied to e-scooters.
Cities also need to do their share in making the roads safe for e-scooter riders. Now that the scooters are popping up in every urban area, and there are no signs that they are going away, city planners need to take steps to improve the roads, and make sure the surfaces and lanes are appropriate for e-scooter riders. This way, the roads will be safe for car drivers, bikers and e-scooters to share.
The Atlanta accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent victims of accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of an accident, talk to an attorney at our firm, and learn about your rights to compensation after an injury. Initial consultations are free.