Scooter Riding Accidents Soar
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Scooter Riding Accidents Soar

Monday, December 03, 2018By Richard Alexander

Scooters have become a ubiquitous form of transportation but they pose many of the same risks associated with bicycles and motorcycles. Scooter injuries can result in disastrous outcomes including head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, paralysis or even death. Electric scooters have been responsible for a surge in emergency room visits in large cities across the United States, including California.

Critics of scooter riding maintain that injuries resulting from scooter accidents are largely the same as damage from any other motor vehicle accident. But unlike cars, for example, scooter companies do not have to comply with regulatory standards for safety and are often unaware of a mechanical issues until an accident occurs. Riders (and pedestrians) are exposed to devices that may be poorly manufactured and maintained. The largest of the scooter manufacturers claim that they take extensive measures to enhance the safety of riders and others. This includes applications and handbooks with safety instructions, written confirmation that the driver has a driver’s license (for at least one of the large manufacturers), and accessibility to helmets for riders who ask for them. One manufacturer requires riders to complete a tutorial on helmet use prior to being given access to ride the scooter for the first time. And it is not just better education that manufacturers are focusing on -they also maintain that vehicle design has been continuously improving with the introduction of features such as independent suspension and better stability control.  

Nevertheless, the number of scooter-related injuries continues to grow. Riders and pedestrians are increasingly pursuing personal injury claims for injuries related to scooter riding, but these claims could pose some challenges. Even if a scooter operator acts negligently and injures a pedestrian, it can be difficult to recover. Whiles scooter riders are required to obtain a license, they are not obligated to purchase insurance and most do not have insurance. In addition, claims against scooter manufacturers are unlikely to be successful. Scooter manufacturers generally require riders to sign extensive waivers and disclaimers that absolve them of liability in the event of a collision. User agreements for most scooter companies contain binding arbitration clauses which bar potential plaintiffs from suing in court. Still, injured scooter riders have initiated lawsuits and it remains to be seen how the courts will respond.

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