The budding electric scooter industry has taken San Diego by storm since the pick-up-and-go vehicles became available in the City in 2018. Unfortunately, injuries have become so common that a new medical term has been coined. “Scooter trauma” is now nearly as common as physical assaults and car accidents among hospital patients in San Diego. Health care professionals have seen an uptick in head and face trauma, jawbone injuries, and fractures to ankles, legs, and wrists related to electric scooter accidents.
In response to citizens’ concerns about scooter use and regulation in the City, a San Diego County Grand Jury studied the laws and policies governing electric scooters, the benefits that the companies tout, and their drawbacks. Based on the investigation, the Grand Jury reported five key findings. Most notably, dock-less scooters are spread out across sidewalks without City approval, and other comparably sized cities are doing a better job in regulating scooter companies’ use of the public right-of-way to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Based on these findings, the Grand Jury recommended that the San Diego City Council bring forward new liability contracts between the scooter companies and the City as well as rules for operating areas, speed limits, and licensing fees. The Grand Jury also recommended that the City Council provide more resources to the San Diego Police Department for enforcing laws and regulations that pertain to electric scooters. The City has since responded to the investigation, noting that it has implemented the Grand Jury’s recommendations.
Are the scooter companies doing their part to keep riders and pedestrians safe? One class action filed last year in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses Bird, Lime, and several other scooter companies of being negligent in this regard. The suit alleges that the companies have contributed to riders’ injuries by “dumping” scooters on public streets without appropriate warning, leading to what it called a dangerous public nuisance. Other individuals have brought claims against scooter companies for brake lockups and other issues that have led to injuries.
As with any vehicle, companies that make electric scooters should take all measures to ensure that riders – and anyone around them – are as safe as possible. These and other legal actions should bring to light the shortcomings and prompt change to protect people in the future.
CaseyGerry has helped many people who were hurt while riding scooters, electric bicycles, and motorcycles. The firm represented a man who was riding a motorized bicycle in La Jolla when the driver of a car suddenly swung into a wide right turn. Slamming into the car, the man sustained a spleen laceration, bruises to his chest wall and thigh, abrasions, and rib fractures.
If you suffered scooter-related trauma, we can explain how the law applies to your situation. We welcome you to call us at (619) 238-1811 for a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation.