In many urban areas, including Arizona cities, shared electronic scooters and bikes litter the sidewalks when they are not zipping by. You may have seen these scooters rented under brands Lime, Razor, Bird, Spin, Jump or Lyft. This new technology has resulted in a new set of traffic and public health problems. Those who ride these scooters and bikes believe that they are a fun and inexpensive way to get around urban areas, especially between public transportation stops, parking or Uber/Lyft drops. However, it is apparent that there are significant dangers involved.
No Helmets = Head Injuries
Most riders do not have access to helmets. Nearly all riders do not possess a helmet when riding and the electronic scooters and bikes do not come with a helmet; consequently, head and facial injuries have reached epidemic proportions. The American Journal of Otolaryngology has found that motorized scooter-related head and face injuries tripled over ten years, resulting in thousands of emergency visits annually. The University of California Los Angeles and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found that head injuries make up 40 – 45% of all reported injuries.
The first category of problems involves the rider. There are problems with scooters being left/positioned outside bars and nightclubs where intoxicated or impaired riders may find them appealing. Also, many inexperienced riders first attempt to ride in complex or more dangerous scenarios, where a more controlled atmosphere would be better. Lastly, some riders attempt to use the scooters like a toy and goof around on them instead of considering them a serious mode of transportation.
Others to Blame – Cars and Scooter Companies
The second category of accidents involves drivers of cars. We have started to see that drivers are not yielding to scooters. Perhaps drivers are not used to looking out for scooters or there is some other explanation, but drivers are not appropriately yielding to scooters in crossing driveways, in crosswalks and in other vulnerable situations. This new problem is not especially surprising because Maricopa County is one of the most dangerous places to ride a bike or to be a pedestrian. Arizona law regarding crosswalks is also vague as to whether a scooter has the same protections as a pedestrian when riding in a crosswalk.
Lastly, electronic scooters and bikes, are sometimes defective or unreasonably dangerous. These devices are often mistreated, abandoned, left outside, improperly maintained or otherwise neglected. There are many reported cases of dangerously defective equipment being left for rent by the general public thereby causing accidents and injuries. Riders should do their best to inspect the equipment before riding; however, defects may not be immediately apparent.
We are available to represent people injured in electronic scooter and bike accidents.