E-scooters are growing in popular, both for personal ownership and through app-based rentals. Companies like Lime and Bird drop thousands of scooters off in cities throughout California, where users can rent them with a few taps on their screen. Because these scooters are dockless (unless bike shares), they don’t have to be returned to any particular place.
While e-scooters have certain advantages, they also present a number of dangers. A 2019 study of individuals injured in Southern California e-scooter crashes found that 40.2% of riders suffered a head injury. This number may not be surprising given that just 4.4% of riders were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
At the Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn, we represent clients who have been injured in all types of accidents, including those involving e-scooters. Whether you were riding an electric scooter or were hit by an e-scooter, we can help you get the compensation that you need to recover for your losses. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Contact us today at (310) 209-1600 or email@example.com to schedule an appointment with a California electric scooter accident lawyer.
California Law on the Use of E-Scooters
Electric or motorized scooters are defined as devices with two wheels, handlebars, and a floorboard that is designed to be stood on when in operation. Users do not have to display a license plate, be registered or insured, or have a special license to drive a scooter.
However, local authorities can regulate the registration of scooters in California. They can also make rules about the operation and parking of e-scooters within their jurisdiction.
The California Vehicle Code has specific rules for operating electric scooters. One of the most important rules is that e-scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks. While this law increases safety for pedestrians, it can put riders at risk as they are forced to drive on a bike path, trail or bikeway, or on a street or highway.
Under the law, users cannot ride an e-scooter:
- Without a helmet if they are under the age of 18;
- Unless the scooter is equipped with a brake that will enable it to stop on clean, dry pavement;
- Without a valid driver’s license or instruction permit;
- With any passengers on the scooter;
- While carrying a package or other article that prevents them from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars;
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- On a highway with the handlebars raised so that they must have their arms above their shoulders to steer; and
- On a highway with a posted speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour (mph), with some exceptions for bike lines and protected bikeways and areas where local ordinances permit travel on a highway with speed limits of up to 35 mph.
Electric scooters cannot be driven over 15 miles per hour (mph), no matter what the speed limit of the road is where the scooter is being operated.
Who Is Responsible for an Electric Scooter Accident?
E-scooter accidents can happen in any number of ways. An inexperienced rider may lose control, crashing into an object or a person. A motor vehicle may hit an e-scooter that is riding in a bike lane or on the street. In some cases, an electric scooter that was left on a sidewalk may cause a pedestrian to trip and fall. No matter how the accident happened, if it was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, you may be able to file a claim.
One of the challenges in many e-scooter cases is the existence of a user agreement. Before renting an electric scooter, companies such as Bird and Lime often require users to electronically sign an agreement that effectively waive their liability for accidents.
A skilled California e-scooter accident lawyer can challenge the validity of these agreements, by arguing that the company was acting with gross negligence or that the scooter was defective. Alternatively, your attorney may argue that the company knew that placing scooters in a specific environment would create a dangerous situation such as the one that caused your injury. The specific argument will depend on the facts of your case and the user agreement signed, if any.
Want to Learn More? Contact Us Today.
While e-scooters are fun to ride, you should be aware that they present a number of dangers. If you have been hurt in an accident while riding an e-scooter or as a pedestrian, the Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn is here for you. Our team of experienced legal professionals will handle your case with skill and compassion, advocating for your right to compensation. Contact us today at (310) 209-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation with a California electric scooter lawyer.