Are Scooters Safer Than Cars?
On the whole, the answer to this question is “no.” Electric scooters can travel as fast as bicycles. Yet they have few built-in safeguards. To make matters worse, scooter users sometimes ignore common safety tips such as wearing a helmet.
The convenience of e-scooter travel
Densely packed urban environments offer unique challenges when it comes to getting from point A to point B. The traditional answer to this problem is to use an automobile. But cars come with their own set of drawbacks, including air pollution and traffic congestion.
A widespread but controversial approach is to use fleets of electric scooters, or “e-scooters,” as a handy way to get around town. Companies such as Lime have flooded urban areas with these products, which users rent on an as-needed basis.
Offhand, electric scooters may seem like the perfect solution. They’re compact, sturdy, and eco-friendly. They’re fun to ride and require no special skills to operate.
The potential perils of e-scooter travel
On the other hand, electric scooters can pose serious safety concerns, both for users and the public at large. Here’s why:
- Surprising speeds: Electric scooters can reach top speeds of 15 mph or more. This may not sound like much, but it’s more than three times faster than the average pedestrian can walk. To get a feel for the danger involved, imagine running as fast as you can into a brick wall. Ouch!
- Troubling misperceptions about the risks: Some people assume that the dangers associated with electric scooters are minimal, because of their small size and limited range. In reality, an e-scooter can quickly get out of control, leading to serious injuries or, in some cases, tragic fatalities.
- Negligent and irresponsible users: Witnesses across the country have seen scooter users weaving in and out of traffic, forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk, and performing dangerous stunts.
- Lack of charging stations: Scooter rental companies lease their products on a “use it and lose it” basis. This means that customers are free to discard the scooter as soon as they reach their destination. This decentralized approach to doing business creates dangerous obstructions and trip hazards for innocent people.
Scooter safety tips
One way to reduce the number of accidents associated with scooters is to teach riders how to use these products safely. Here are seven tips with that in mind:
- Always wear a helmet: Bicycle users have long known that wearing a helmet is essential for their safety. The same goes for scooter users, who travel at speeds rivaling those of the average bicyclist.
- Use protective gear: Including gloves, knee and elbow pads, and reflective clothing.
- Practice common courtesy: Use bike lanes rather than sidewalks, stay out of the way of pedestrians, and signal your intention to turn ahead of time.
- Keep the weather in mind: Rain, snow, and patches of ice multiply the risks associated with using an electric scooter. The same goes for using a scooter at night or on overcast days.
- Scan the environment ahead of you: Watch out for obstructions, potholes, and other hazards. Avoid eating, talking on your phone, or engaging in other tasks while riding a scooter.
- Scoot by yourself: A scooter becomes unstable when more than one person tries to ride it at the same time.
- Use care when setting your scooter aside: Never leave it lying down on the sidewalk or in the street. Use public bicycle racks whenever possible. Use the rental service’s app to lock the scooter if you must step away from it for a while. This will help to prevent theft.
What to do if you’ve been injured in a scooter accident
The first step is to seek medical help right away. You should also obtain a police report on the incident. Failing to do so may expose you to serious legal consequences.
The next step is to contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to discuss your options for obtaining compensation. This is true whether you were the person riding the scooter or not.
The attorneys here at Ellis Injury Law have recovered more than $350 million for our clients over the years, a figure which speaks for itself. Our firm is known and respected throughout California and along the West Coast.
Remember, initial consultations are always free and we’re available 24/7. Get in touch with an e-scooter attorney today if you need our help. We look forward to speaking with you.