One of the newest innovations in urban transportation is electric scooters. These vehicles are an alternative to driving, walking, taking a taxi, or ordering a rideshare driver. Because these e-scooters are relatively new, some incidents are to be expected; however, if you’ve been injured while riding a rental scooter or were injured by an electric scooter driver, you can take legal action with the help of our Omaha electric scooter accident lawyers.
After their initial introduction in the United States, electric scooters became popular almost immediately. There are currently a number of companies that offer e-scooter rentals. The most common are Bird, Lime, Jump, Lyft, Ojo, Spin, and VeoRide. With the number of companies increasing, the vehicles are more accessible to more cities, including Omaha.
Electric Scooters in Omaha
In January 2019, Omaha announced plans to start an electric scooter pilot program with Lime and Spin. The scooters are available to the general public. It’s possible that the scooters could become available at local bicycle rental companies and other businesses.
The city regulates the use of these rental scooters and holds the companies responsible for any issues. Overall, this added mode of transportation can reduce traffic while getting people to their destination faster than walking. They are also an eco-friendly mode of transportation.
While riders can be trained on how to use these vehicles in order to reduce the risk of accidents, there’s no way to prevent accidents entirely. This is because most accidents, regardless of the type of vehicle, are the result of human error. In order to operate these vehicles as safely as possible, it’s crucial to understand why they can be dangerous.
How Can Electric Scooters Be Dangerous?
While electric scooters are convenient, they come with their own unique dangers. It’s important for all riders to be trained on how to properly use them. This is especially true considering the e-scooters can reach speeds up to 15 miles per hour. If a rider was struck by a car traveling even faster, they would be at risk for serious injuries or even death. Some of the risks that riders who use rental scooters face include:
- Inexperience. Because of how new e-scooters are, the majority of riders have never ridden one before. When a person rents one, they are not required to have any special licensing or training. All they need to do is download the app and supply their credit card information.
- Road Hazards. Because electric scooters only have two small wheels, there’s a high risk for an accident being caused by a road hazard. The most common dangers involve potholes, uneven surfaces, gravel, and roadway debris.
- Decreased Visibility. Because e-scooters are small and many people are unaware of them, motorists are less likely to see them on the road. There’s also the risk of the scooter being hidden from view by larger objects on or off the roadway.
- Instability. The two small wheels, in addition to the short wheelbase, also contribute to instability. This is because the riders have a high center of gravity. Even a minor bump could cause the rider to lose control and fall over. Curbs are also an issue—especially when a rider tries to transition from a roadway onto a sidewalk.
- Panicked Stops. When a rider needs to come to a quick stop, the front wheel of the rental scooter could lock up and throw the rider off.
- Irresponsible Behaviors. Because you don’t need a license to operate an electric scooter, there’s the risk that younger riders will rent them. They may try to push boundaries and engage in risky behaviors like not wearing a helmet or riding with multiple people on one scooter.
Types of Electric Scooter Accidents
Even when people carefully ride an electric scooter, there’s still the risk of getting into an accident. Understanding the most common types of accidents can help you reduce your chances of being injured in a crash or worse.
The most dangerous crashes tend to involve moving vehicles. When a motorist is unaware of an e-scooter rider until the last second, the consequences can be deadly. These accidents are most common at intersections. Turns are particularly dangerous because of the scooter’s decreased visibility.
Collisions frequently occur with pedestrians. A scooter rider could hit a pedestrian or run into something else while trying to avoid a pedestrian. It’s important to recognize that electric scooters are not meant to be ridden on sidewalks. Following this rule can reduce accidents.
In addition to wrecks with larger vehicles and pedestrians, there’s also the risk of a scooter malfunction. This happens when the brakes fail, the throttle sticks in the fully depressed positions, the handlebar stem collapses, the electrical system suddenly dies, or there are issues with the tires. Electric scooters experience heavy use, so scooter companies need to ensure their vehicles are safe to use. When the e-scooters are not monitored and maintained properly, the risk of an accident increases significantly.
Seek Legal Guidance with Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO
If you were wrongfully injured while riding an electric scooter, it can be difficult to determine fault. In some cases, it might be the fault of the driver or pedestrian involved. This is often the case when a driver is distracted and unaware of a scooter rider when they hit them, or when a pedestrian steps in the rider’s path without looking. If your accident occurred because of hazardous road conditions, a business could be responsible if they failed to place proper warning materials or signage. The electric scooter company could also be the at-fault party if the vehicle was defective.
No matter who was responsible for your accident, it’s important to know that it never should have happened. In order to recover fully, seeking compensation with the help of an Omaha electric scooter accident lawyer may be in your best interests. We’ll work to determine how and why your accident happened, so you can recover your monetary losses and move forward with your life. Contact our office today for more information.