E-scooters are becoming almost as prevalent as motorcycles and bikes; in fact, some experts have estimated that there are upwards of 10,000 currently sharing the roads.
Of course, as a result, these bikes are also becoming the subject of accidents linked to serious injuries and wrongful death. In fact, according to one reporting emergency room that has dealt with these injuries, doctors there reportedly address nearly a dozen injuries related to these scooters every single week, and that includes some individuals who are driving e-scooters under the influence.
Determining Liability in Accidents
Claims related to these accidents aren’t always straightforward, in part because many of the scooters are rented from companies such as Bird, Lime, and Spin, rather than being individually owned, like cars. These three companies specifically provide for Smartphone applications, labeling, and safety instructions. Some also require proof that the rider is eligible to drive (i.e. a driver’s license to confirm that they are at least 18 years old) and mandate basic helmet safety training before a first ride.
Still, of course, collisions and accidents will happen regardless of these basic mandates put in place by the scooter rental companies. So who is responsible when they do? The following litigation has already been filed against some of these companies:
- A class-action lawsuit against companies including Bird, Lime, Segway, and Xiaomi by several pedestrians who claim that they were injured by these bikes and that these companies did not do enough to ensure pedestrian safety;
- One man was awarded $10 million in 2010 for his injuries after suffering in an accident involving an e-scooter;
- A lawsuit against Bird and Lime by the city of San Diego alleging that the scooter products are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by explicitly being ridden on sidewalks and city streets;
- Litigation that may be pending concerning one man who died this past September after being struck by an SUV;
- Litigation by one man who allegedly tripped over one of the scooters in the middle of the sidewalk; and
- Bird is being sued for trespass and nuisance by 30 property owners in California who allege that the company is harming property owners because their scooters are left on their property or negligently in the middle of sidewalks adjacent.
One Company Experiences Potential Software Malfunction
In addition, Lime just recently stopped operations in Switzerland in order to investigate a potential software malfunction that reportedly made its scooters brake for no reason. Globally, Lime also supposedly had to recall some scooter models for spontaneously breaking apart and, at times, catching on fire.