Over the past two years, there has been a rise in the number of people using motor scooters. Their popularity has especially grown in the state of California. Unfortunately, the number of people suffering injuries is also increasing, especially as many are neglecting to wear helmets and other protective gear while riding these scooters, particularly those made by Bird and Lime.
More ER Visits
Electronic scooters made by Lime and Bird have spiked in popularity, which in turn has also led to more people making trips to their local hospital's ER. In the past year alone, around 249 people went to ERs in the Southern California area after suffering injuries directly related to the vehicles, which can reach up to 20 miles per hour.
According to a study published in the JAMA Network Open journal, the most notable injuries included bruises, broken bones and especially head injuries, including bleeding in the brain. Some of the injured parties were riders of the scooters while others were pedestrians.
A Growing Problem
The Los Angeles area, in particular, has seen a remarkable rise in the usage of electric scooters. The lead author of the paper published in JAMA Network Open, Dr. Tarak Trivedi, stated that the craze started seemingly overnight when deckles rental scooters were suddenly available to the public. This happened before the scooters were even regulated as to their use. Nonetheless, like ridesharing services Lyft and Uber, Bird and Lime were granted permits.
Companies Protesting Legislation
Bird and Lime, the two most prevalent manufacturers of the motor scooters, claim that safety is their first priority. Riders are required to be at least 18 years old and must upload their driver's license to an app on the scooter itself. At the same time, Bird is lobbying against California legislation that would require riders to wear helmets. This is questionable considering its claim of safety being such a top priority.
The companies claim that riders are not able to file personal injury due to certain clauses from the manufacturers. They require riders to agree not to sue them and instead urge people to rely on mediation they refer to as “binding arbitration.” The companies also claim they cannot know beforehand if a scooter has a mechanical issue unless the rider reports it. However, a personal injury attorney will tell you that there are many ways that this “agreement” would be considered invalid as a defense in court. Many riders and former mechanics state that the companies are poorly maintaining their scooters, which is leading to all the injuries.
Overall, 40 percent of people visiting the ERs in California due to scooter accidents suffered head injuries. Some of those injuries were serious and included concussions and bleeding in the brain. Dr. Trivedi said he heard patients complain about faulty brakes on scooters and speculated that poor maintenance is a huge factor in the injuries.
If you have been injured riding a scooter in California, you deserve to be heard. Contact the personal injury attorney at Kohn Law Office by calling (760) 710-0190 at your earliest convenience to discuss your case.