Atlanta's New Laws on Bird Scooters
Every tech company wants to be the next Uber. That is, rush a service to market, deal with regulators after you’re already in the wild, and try to minimize your liability to the public as much as possible. Mid last year, Bird scooters began their invasion of the city without warning.
For those that are unfamiliar, Bird scooters are scooters with electric motors that can be rented from an app starting at a dollar around the city. Only within the last couple months has the city responded with regulations to control the proliferation of the e-scooters.
Travis VanderZanden, Bird’s CEO, explains that the company’s strategy is to launch in cities where there are no laws or regulations regarding dockless mobility devices. The company stealth launches in these cities with no prior warning and takes advantage of the slow response time by city regulators to respond.
Atlanta’s Regulations of Scooters
It took Atlanta nine months to respond with rules for the devices. The regulations limit where the scooters can be driven and parked. Scooters are not allowed to be driven on sidewalks and are only to be ridden in designated bike lanes or on the streets. Scooters must also be parked off to the side on a sidewalk that has at least five feet of space.
There can only be one rider at a time and riders must wear a helmet. Scooters are also limited by city ordinance to not be able to exceed 15 miles per hour on their own power. You are also not allowed to even hold a cell phone or wireless device while you drive an e-scooter.
The ordinance issued by the city recognizes that these devices not only can be a nuisance but also that they can cause injuries. Operators of dockless mobility devices, which includes Bird/Lime/Lyft Scooters and Uber’s red electric bicycles, must carry liability insurance to operate the vehicles in the city.
Liability for Injuries
The fact of the matter is these machines can lead to all sorts of injuries if they are not operated or maintained properly. Falling off a scooter at 15 miles per hour on the busy streets of Atlanta can lead to serious injuries.
Deciding who is liable for your damages can be an extremely difficult process. If you are simply walking down the street and someone riding an e-scooter crashes into you and hurts you, who is responsible for paying for your injuries? Was the person operating the device properly and within the guidelines set by city ordinance? Did the device malfunction due to improper maintenance?
What if someone improperly left a scooter in the middle of a sidewalk and caused you to trip and injure yourself? Is the person who left it responsible or are the operators who are supposed to pick up and charge the scooters responsible?
The circumstances surrounding an injury due involving a dockless mobility device can make a huge difference in who you can hold accountable for your damages. It is always best to seek out an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have been hurt in an accident involving a dockless mobility device including Bird Scooters or Uber Bikes, reach out to The Balams Firm at (404) 445-2005 and let us evaluate your case.