Electric scooters by makers such as Bird and Lime are becoming commonplace on the streets of New York, especially in the larger cities. They are eco-friendly vehicles to be sure, but they are causing major problems for motorists and pedestrians.
To rent an electric scooter in New York City, you just need to download one of the apps offered by Bird or Lime and locate a scooter in your area. Once you’ve located the scooter, you can ride it where you need to go.
Many of the apps offered by companies such as Bird and Lime, do suggest that you ride the scooter in the bicycle lanes, but a lot of people are riding on the roads and sidewalks where they are crashing into motorists, and literally plowing over pedestrians. This behavior is causing serious injuries in New York for scooter drivers, pedestrians, and motorists alike.
Electric Scooters and Liability in an Accident in New York
City governments throughout the state of New York, are trying to put laws and policies into place regarding the use of electric scooters. In some cities, local governments are demanding that Bird and Lime be liable for any damages that take place because of their electric scooters. The problem with this is that when you rent an electric scooter in New York City, the contract limits liability to $100.00 for Bird, and Lime doesn’t assume any liability if you are injured by one of their electric scooters in New York City.
What it really comes down to, is that when you rent an electric scooter in New York City, you are riding at your own risk, and there isn’t a special license that is required to rent an electric scooter. So, if you are hit by someone driving an electric scooter in New York City, the person on the scooter can just ride away, and you have no way of knowing who they are. Additionally, electric scooters aren’t equipped with license plates.
If you or a loved one is injured in New York City due to someone else’s negligence, liability can get complicated. Your personal car insurance company may deny your claim because they don’t cover two-wheeled vehicles, and your health insurance company may deny you coverage because they believe your personal car insurance should pay for your damages.
Some people in New York and elsewhere believe that insurance companies should offer some form of liability coverage. Many insurance companies fail to regard electric scooters as vehicles. It may be that your homeowner’s or rental insurance company is the one that will end up paying out on your claim for damages in an electric scooter accident.
The Dangers of Electric Scooters in New York City
Electric scooters operate at a top speed of approximately 15 miles per hour. Some people may not realize that even at that speed, serious injuries can and do occur if the driver hits someone, something, or is hit by another motor vehicle.
The main contributing factor to many electric scooter accidents in New York City is that drivers of scooters are not required to wear a helmet. This can cause serious injuries and trauma surgeons in New York and elsewhere throughout the country are seeing such injuries as:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal and Neck injuries
- Fractured Bones
- Internal Bleeding
- Cuts and Lacerations
Malfunctioning and Defective Electric Scooters in New York
Many times, you may be injured while riding an electric scooter in New York because of a malfunctioning or defective scooter. Some of the problems that have been reported include:
- Brake Issues
- Tire Issues
- Stem or Handlebar Malfunctions
- Throttle Malfunctions
Companies like Lime and Bird rely on you, the rider, to report any defects or malfunctions. As expected, many people don’t report any issues, which puts the rider who rents the scooter next in danger of serious if not fatal injuries.
Why You Need a New York City Scooter Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one is hit by an electric scooter in New York, and the driver of the scooter takes off, it’s important that you remember as many details as possible. Additionally, talk to anyone who may have witnessed your electric scooter accident and write down any details they may be able to give you.
Call the police and have them take a report and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once you have been treated for your injuries you should contact a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced New York City car accident lawyer like the ones at the Falkowitz Law Firm.