After a long wait, New York City residents can finally rent and use e-scooters to get around the city quickly. They’ve been available in other big cities for a few years now, and NYC finally lifted its ban on micro-mobility vehicles.
Bird, Lime, And VeoRide have been selected for The Big Apple’s initial e-scooter pilot program. If you travel to another city and ride, you may be renting an e-scooter from:
E-scooters offer an easy, fun, and environmentally friendly way to go short distances around the New York City area. Rent one by unlocking one on your smartphone app, take it and go. At a cost of $3 to $5 to use for a ride, they’re also economical.
But as enjoyable as they are, e-scooters aren’t without risk, either. Whether you own your own electric-powered scooter or rent one on any city street, they aren’t totally safe. Helmets are recommended, but they’re not required. So just like a bicycle, even riding one in New York’s bike lanes can end in a crash.
Why E-Scooters Are Hazardous
These electric-powered machines can go as fast as 15 mph. For the new rider, they may not have mastered maneuvering one and may ride into something or someone.
At that speed, a passenger or bicyclist may not be able to avoid the e-scooter in time and find themselves injured. Riders can also lose control of the scooter and push themselves or others into oncoming traffic.
Road hazards like potholes are also a problem. Because the wheels are small and solid, not inflatable, any little bump in the road can throw a rider off the floorboard or cause a loss of control.
One of the benefits of an e-scooter is that you can rent it from a spot and leave it in a different spot when you’re done with it. But sometimes riders just drop them anywhere in the middle of the sidewalk. Pedestrians may not see this trip hazard, and find themselves injured after falling over one and hitting the sidewalk.
Causes of Accidents
Cars, motorcycles, potholes, bicyclists, pedestrians, and even other e-scooter riders can cause a crash at just 15 mph. A crash can occur because of:
- A rider losing control of the e-scooter by hitting a pothole or other road hazard
- Car or other motor vehicle hitting the rider and e-scooter when riding in traffic due to their smaller size. Drivers don’t often see the e-scooter when making turns or changing lanes, and crashing into an opening door is also a danger to the rider
- A rider striking a pedestrian or bicycle when riding in traffic
- A defect within the e-scooter causes a crash, such as loose steering (handlebars), brakes that fail, batteries that overheat, or software that fails
Accidents involving e-scooters in other US cities show that many of these accidents happen with people who are hopping on one for the first time. Because many people don’t think about wearing a helmet, they have a higher risk of a head injury in an e-scooter accident.
E-Scooter Crash Injuries
Just like a motorcycle or bicycle crash, the rider has little or no protection from injuries, such as:
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Brain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Dislocation of joints including shoulders, elbows, and knees
- Cuts and bruises
- Facial trauma
- Broken bones, especially limbs
After an accident, it’s vital to seek medical attention immediately, since some injuries may not show up right away.
Liability And Damages
When you click through the end-user agreement (EUA) in the e-scooter company’s app, you may be signing away your right to litigation should you be involved in a crash. Most people don’t realize this when they are in a hurry and click through an app’s EUA.
So if you are involved in an accident on an e-scooter, or by someone riding one, who bears the liability? Depending on the circumstances, it could be:
- A rider
- The driver of a passenger vehicle (car, pickup truck, etc.)
- A pedestrian
- The municipality responsible for the road conditions (i.e., the City of New York)
- The manufacturer of the e-scooter
- The company renting the e-scooter (Bird, Lime, etc.)
In the case of a defective machine, the company will normally defer blame and call it an “operator error.” However, it will take an investigation to determine where the liability lies. That’s why it’s important not to speak to anyone from an insurance company or their legal representatives until you speak with an attorney for yourself.
E-Scooter Accident? Call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier
If you’re injured in an e-scooter accident, you may also be able to recover damages as you would in a car crash or other type of personal injury case. Working with an NYC personal injury law firm can help you get the maximum compensation for your injuries and negotiate with insurance companies so you can take care of yourself.
For over 25 years, Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier has been helping New Yorkers who have been hurt in accidents. Call us at (212) 777-9400 or contact us online, and we’ll talk to you about your case. Your first consultation is free. Our contingency fee basis means we don’t get paid unless we settle your case or win the trial.