Scooter Accidents in Los Angeles
Electric scooters are the new hip, green way to see cities, and for what it’s worth, they’re the most California thing seen in years. However, as far as safety is concerned, the scooters might not be doing so hot.
Since the introduction of electric scooters or e-scooters, individuals split between obsessing over the phenomenon versus thinking of it as a safety hazard. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to reduce e-scooter helmets’ requirement age down to under 18. The law went into effect January this year. Since then, lawmakers have been pushing for more stringent policies surrounding e-scooters. Recently, the state proposed a bill that gives California cities the power to control local use of electric scooters. The bill has yet to be approved.
What is an Electric Scooter (E-scooter)?
According to California law, an electric scooter, also defined as a motorized scooter, is a two-wheel standing scooter with handlebars that operates on low-emissions and electricity only. The scooters discussed are part of the network of ride-sharing transportation—the electric scooters can be rented for specific lengths of time. The most famous e-scooters, Bird and Lime, were first released in 2017. Other brands have followed after such as JUMP operated by Uber and Lyft scooter.
Are Scooters Safe to Ride in California?
The discussion of safety surrounding electric scooters is rarely set apart from biases and personal opinions. Research by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) involving emergency rooms visits data is one of the first to provide factual data. The study, split between two Southern California hospitals, reported the number of injuries from electric scooters for 249 patients between the dates of September 2017 to August 2018. Different data reported for each patient included injury type and rider information. The data showed 10% of riders injured were actually under the age of 18, and less than 5% of all riders reported wearing a helmet.
In terms of injuries, the most severe involved head injuries in 40% of cases. Any head injury can be synonymous with traumatic brain injuries which have long-term effects such as physical disability and paralysis. Among the incidents associated with traumatic brain injuries, an e- scooter incident comes as no surprise, as the most common events leading up to a traumatic brain injury are slip-and-falls. As the popularity for scooters surges, so will more of its data. Only then will we get a clear view of their safety and user experience. For now, we wait and see how lawmakers monitor the situation and how the scooter companies respond.
California Scooter Laws
A few general California laws to consider when riding electric scooters:
Note: changes subject to location & civil regulations
· one-person max per every scooter
· rider must have a driver’s license or driving permit
· rider must wear a helmet if under 18
· scooters not permitted on sidewalks
· scooter must light up during darkness hours;
· and be visible to pedestrians/other moving vehicles
· scooter must be ridden in bike lanes when available unless stated otherwise
· speed limit for electric scooters is set to 15 miles per hour (mph) regardless of roadway
· cannot ride on a road with a posted speed limit of more than 25 miles per hour (mph) unless while riding in Class II or IV bike lanes or stated otherwise
· if no bike lane available, scooters must be ridden closest to right curbside unless deemed unsafe or stated otherwise
· scooters must be parked upright in designated spots
· at least one hand must be kept on scooter handlebars when riding
Since limited governmental policies are detailing electric scooter offenses, every accident involving an electric scooter is handled at a case by case basis. If you or someone you know suffers an electric scooter accident in California, you should seek the help of a personal injury lawyer. Contact Yarian & Associates to submit a claim with their firm or have a legal discussion regarding the incident.