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The Risks of Riding an Electric Scooter in Los Angeles

scooter-accident-injury-attorneys-Los-AngelesThanks to startup companies, including Lyft, Lime, and Bird, e-scooters have become a nearly ubiquitous part of Los Angeles’s landscape. Tourists and residents can unlock these scooters with their smartphones and ride them to get to where they need to go or to use for sightseeing. While e-scooters can be fun to use and are better for the environment, they also carry risks of injury for both the riders and for others around them. You need to understand the dangers of riding electric scooters, how accidents happen with them, and how to minimize your risk of accidents. If you are injured in an e-scooter accident, you also should understand your rights.

Dangers of riding electric scooters in Los Angeles

While e-scooters seem to be everywhere in Los Angeles, riding them can be dangerous to riders and pedestrians. Many people who rent scooters do not have experience in how to handle them. They might be tourists who want a quick way to get around who rent e-scooters. Some riders choose to ride them on sidewalks even though it is illegal to do so in Los Angeles, which places pedestrians at risk. E-scooter riders are supposed to ride their scooters on streets or in bicycle lanes. However, many areas in Los Angeles do not have bicycle lanes, and forcing e-scooter riders to share the roads with motor vehicles places the riders in danger from collisions with cars. Finally, many people ride e-scooters without helmets. The companies that have rental scooters in place do not provide helmets for riders to use.

During the one year from Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2018, 249 people in Los Angeles went to two emergency departments on the west side with injuries related to e-scooter use. The study, which was conducted by UCLA, found that there is a low rate of compliance with age regulations for riders along with low rates of using helmets. A study that was conducted by Consumer Reports found that there were at least 1,545 injuries in the U.S. caused by e-scooters in 2018. Since most hospitals don’t track these types of accidents, many more likely occurred.

How accidents can happen

Like bicyclists and pedestrians, e-scooter riders do not have anything to protect them from the forces that are released in collisions. Many do not wear helmets and are inexperienced riders. When they are forced to ride on the streets, motorists around them have a harder time seeing them. This may cause the motorists to collide with e-scooter riders simply because they failed to see them.

Many e-scooter accidents happen at intersections when the riders are crossing the roads. Intersection accidents can be caused when the motorists are distracted and fail to stop at crosswalks or at unmarked intersections to allow the e-scooter riders to cross. Similarly, drivers turning onto streets might fail to notice e-scooter riders in the crosswalks of the streets onto which they are turning.

Dooring accidents have long been a problem for bicyclists, and they are becoming a problem for e-scooter riders as well. These types of accidents happen when drivers who are parked along the sides of streets open their car doors in the path of e-scooters, causing the riders to collide with the doors.

Road hazards can also endanger e-scooter riders. People who are riding scooters and who encounter road debris, potholes, broken asphalt, and other problems can fall off their scooters and suffer injuries. Swerving accidents are also common. These accidents can happen when the e-scooter riders have to temporarily swerve into an adjacent traffic lane to avoid colliding with someone else and then are struck by vehicles. Vehicles also sometimes swerve into e-scooters that are traveling next to them.

E-scooter accidents also can happen on sidewalks when riders collide with pedestrians or stationary objects. When e-scooter riders collide with pedestrians, the pedestrians may suffer serious injuries.

Types of serious injuries that can result

Several common types of serious injuries that can result from e-scooters have been identified. According to Healthline, some of the most common types of e-scooter injuries include the following:

  • Closed head injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Skull fractures
  • Nasal fractures
  • Neck fractures
  • Facial fractures
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fractures to other parts of the body
  • Paralysis

In addition to the common types of injuries, people who are involved in e-scooter accidents can also be killed. Business Insider reports that 11 people were killed because of e-scooter accidents between Jan. 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019.

Minimizing your risk

If you plan to ride on an e-scooter, you should take steps to minimize your accident risk. You should always wear a helmet when you plan to ride an e-scooter. Since the companies do not provide helmets with their e-scooters, this means that you will need to bring your own with you. It is also a good idea to wear knee pads, shin guards, elbow pads, and wrist guards to provide you with more protection in case you fall off of the scooter.

You should also avoid riding on sidewalks to prevent collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists. When you ride on the streets, you should make sure that you make yourself visible. Wear brightly colored clothing so that motorists can see you. When you are riding on streets with cars parked along the sides of the roads, pay attention to both the traffic next to you as well as any occupied, parked vehicles so you can avoid dooring accidents. Do not use e-scooters when you have been drinking or using drugs. Like other motorists, you are prohibited from operating an e-scooter when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Finally, ride the e-scooter in the same direction as traffic, and use hand signals to let motorists know when you plan to turn.

Can an injured person recover damages for an e-scooter accident?

It is possible to recover damages when you have been injured in an e-scooter accident. As we have previously explained, Lime and Bird both have liability waivers contained within their apps. However, there may be other parties that are responsible for your e-scooter accident.

If you were injured in a collision with a motor vehicle or by a car door, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the motorist for his or her negligence. You may be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for your accident. California follows the pure comparative negligence standard, which means that sharing fault will not bar you from recovery. Instead, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault that you had in your accident’s cause.

If you were injured because of a road defect, you may have the right to sue the city for your injuries. To prevail in this type of claim, you will need to show that the dangerous road condition existed for such a length of time that it reasonably should have been discovered and corrected or that the city had actual knowledge of it and failed to take corrective measures.

Finally, if you are a pedestrian who was injured by an e-scooter rider, you can file a lawsuit against the rider. If the rider was riding under the influence or on the sidewalks in violation of the municipal code, you can use these facts to prove his or her liability.

Contact an e-scooter injury lawyer at Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have suffered serious injuries in an e-scooter accident, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney at Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling 310-592-0445.

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