Less than a year after being legally introduced on the streets of Atlanta, electric scooters are already facing tremendous consternation and rejection from citizens and lawmakers.
Currently, there are anywhere between 15-20K scooters offered by 8 major e-scooter companies in and around Greater Atlanta. Especially in areas near universities and up-and-coming neighborhoods, scooters are being considered as a convenient and environmentally-friendly mode of transport by the younger population. They are ideal for getting around locally running to the store, riding through a park or taking to school. When getting into fast or heavy traffic situations the chances of an accident happening increase significantly.
The Basics of Scooter Riding and Safety
An electric scooter (also known as a Dockless Mobility Device) is a wheeled vehicle with a step-through frame designed to carry a single person. The rider needs to stand on the step-frame for the duration of the ride. These work solely on electric batteries and are thus very economical. E-scooters are different from motorized scooters that have no seats, as well from mobility scooters that have three or four wheels.
A January 2019 permit issued by Georgia state government allows e-scooters to be used across most neighborhoods at a speed of 15mph, and are subject to laws pretty similar to ones for motorbikes and bicycles.
Common E-Scooter Accidents
As with most two-wheeled vehicles, e-scooters face a lot of risks, while sharing roads with pedestrians as well as automobiles and other heavy vehicles. In addition, due to the newness of the vehicles, most people on the streets are not used to estimating the speed, distances, and size of e-scooters, making it a very risky ride. According to a new Rutgers University study, the number of incidents climbed from 2,325 in 2008 to 6,957 in 2018. Most common e-scooter accidents are –
- Rear-end collisions – A scooter riding at or below its designated speed limit is naturally slow for automobiles sharing the street. As e-scooters have just hit the streets, very few drivers are used to seeing and navigating their way around scooters. Therefore, there are higher chances of the scooters suffering a rear-end collision from a passing vehicle.
- Distracted riders – Oftentimes, young riders try to multitask, leading to distracted riding, which can lead to them losing balance and colliding with other vehicles on the street.
- Loss of control – E-scooters are lightweight, have small tires and a fragile frame. Their center of gravity depends solely on the balancing skills of the rider. Therefore, any sudden shift of balance, a poor maneuver or swerve to avoid a pothole can lead to a fall or a collision.
- Door strikes – E-scooters often navigate small spaces between vehicles on the street, their small frame being an advantage. Due to this, they face the risk of collision with opening doors of cars parked along the streets.
- Sideswipes – E-scooters riding between lanes of slowed or stationary traffic face the risk of collision with vehicles changing lanes at high speeds.
People looking to use e-scooters should get themselves acquainted with common e-scooter injuries. In states like Georgia that follow the modified comparative fault system, if you find yourself in an accident, your remuneration will only be to the percentage of your innocence.
Here are some basic tips that can help you avoid serious accidents while using e-scooters
- Stay on streets that allow e-scooters and have designated bike lanes
- Avoid roads where speed limits greatly exceed the limits of e-scooters
- Avoid lane-splitting or riding too close to parked cars
- Avoid riding on wet roads, or roads with potholes, puddles or uneven surfaces
- Stick to the minimum age standards recommended by the e-scooter companies
- Always wear helmets
- Whenever possible, plan your route to follow well-lit streets and pathways
- Don’t assume cars can see you – anticipate their path and ride with caution
- Wear bright clothing for increased visibility
- Wear gloves to keep your hands warm and responsive for braking and acceleration
All things considered, e-scooters are mobility solutions of the future and despite their current problems, will only become more frequent over time. So, getting yourself acquainted with the intricacies of e-scooter accidents and related laws will always prove beneficial. You may also want to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer, in case you find yourself in an unfortunate situation.
Attorney Riah Greathouse has been working through personal injury cases for over a decade. He has derived considerable success working on complicated cases involving emerging technologies like e-scooters. If you are considering buying an e-scooter accident and want to educate yourself, contact us today.