Sacramento Electric Scooter Accident Lawyer
Electric scooters (e-scooters) are gaining popularity in almost every major city in the United States and around the world. Many people are using e-scooters to take short trips in urban areas as an alternative to bikes, cars, and buses. They are popular among the younger crowd because of their affordability and convenience.What are Electric Scooters?
E-scooters look like a larger standup scooter except they have an electric motor and hand brakes. These battery-operated vehicles weigh about 40 pounds and can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour.
Similar to bike sharing, scooter sharing is mainly for commuting. It’s designed to travel short distances such as riding from the bus station to the office or to a location that’s about 10 to 15 minutes away.The Start of Rentable Electric Scooters
Inspired by Uber and Lyft, scooter companies, Bird, Lime, Scoot, Skip, and Spin started populating city’s sidewalks across the country in 2017 with rentable electric scooters as the next step to the transportation revolution.
Santa Monica, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland were some of the first cities in California to embrace the e-scooter phenomenon. However, ridesharing electric scooters didn’t hit the Sacramento market until February 2019, when Jump, the same company that introduced electric bikes to Sacramento the year before, rolled out its first 100 fleets of electric scooters.
Watch YouTube Video: Why the Rise of the Electric Scooter Has Been a Bumpy Ride. This special PBS report discusses how local officials and residents throughout the United States are dealing with thousands of electric scooters on our streets.Renting Electric Scooters
Riders can easily access any scooter using the company app on their smartphone. Through the app, riders can locate the nearest scooter and reserve it. Riders will use the app to digitally unlock the scooter and ride to their destination. When they are done with the scooter, they park it at a designated scooter or bike rack and digitally lock it. For cities that don’t have designated racks, riders can just drop them off at any location where they won’t create a risk for pedestrians or vehicles. The scooter companies keep track of the e-scooters through GPS.
Compared to other ridesharing services, e-scooters are cheap to rent. It's free to unlock through Jump then it costs 15 cents a minute after that. Other scooter companies charge $1 to unlock and 15 cents a minute. For instance, a two-mile ride that takes about 10 minutes will cost $2.50.Benefits of Riding Electric Scooters
E-scooters are a great sustainable way to get around the city. Not only are they fun, affordable and convenient, they also promote a healthy and active lifestyle. They can also help reduce traffic congestion, emissions, and parking issues.The Dangers of Electric Scooters
On the flip side, e-scooters also pose a risk when being ridden carelessly. Accidents involving e-scooters can be deadly if the rider falls off or if the scooter malfunctions. Potential of serious injuries are remarkably high if scooter operators:
- Ride recklessly at high speeds in pedestrian areas.
- Park the scooters improperly on sidewalks and pedestrian routes.
- Run into an object or get hit by a car.
- Don’t wear a helmet or other protective gear.
- Break the e-scooter laws
Like all other personal transportation, e-scooter operators must obey traffic laws and general rules of the road. The e-scooter laws in California state that riders:
- Must have a valid driver’s license or permit.
- Are not allowed in the street with a speed limit above 25 unless they are riding in a bike lane.
- Must be on the right side of the street next to the curb and ride in a designated bike lane if one is available.
- Must walk their scooter in a crosswalk when crossing the road.
- Must not ride on the sidewalk.
- Can’t have passengers.
- Can’t hitch scooters onto a vehicle in motion.
- Must have one hand on the handlebar.
- Must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
California could cap the number of scooters being rented in the cities and apply harsher penalties for anyone breaking the law.Age Requirement to Ride Electric scooters
Although California requires riders to be at least 16 years old, some cities like Sacramento and Los Angeles require that drivers be 18 years or older to operate the e-scooters. Also, California recently passed a law that allows adults to ride without a helmet. Those under 18 must wear a helmet.Electric Scooter Injuries
People have sustained severe injuries or even deaths in accidents involving e-scooters. Emergency rooms across the country are seeing people with injuries generally associated with car accidents:
While most of the injuries were caused to the riders, pedestrians were also injured when they trip over scooters that were left on sidewalks or when the riders crash into them.Reports of Electric Scooter Accidents and Deaths
According to reports, electric scooters have been blamed for over 1500 injuries and deaths in the United States since 2017. Below are just some of the notable accidents and fatalities:
- January 2018 - A woman in her 20s suffered significant head injuries when her e-scooter collided with a moving car in Santa Monica. She reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign, entered the intersection and hit the car.
- September 2018 - A 24-year-old man died after he fell off his electric scooter in Dallas and suffered blunt force head injuries. He was taken to the hospital where he died a day later.
- September 2018 - A 20-year-old man died after he collided with an SUV in Washington D.C. According to witnesses he was pinned under the vehicle and dragged about 20 yards. Firefighters had to extricate him, and he died shortly after that.
- October 2018 - A 32-year-old man suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and facial lacerations in San Diego after hitting a bump in the road and flying off his electric scooter.
- April 2019 - A 5-year-old boy was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Tulsa, Oklahoma while riding a rentable electric scooter with his mother.
Researchers believe there are two main reasons why these injuries or deaths are happening:
- The riders are inexperienced - Electric scooter riding is new to many people, and casual riders don’t usually understand how to operate them safely. The scooters can go as fast as 15 miles per hour, which is a level of speed that most riders may not be able to handle.
- The riders are intoxicated or impaired – Many riders are operating the e-scooters while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even though impaired riders can cause more danger to themselves, they can also pose a risk to pedestrians.
When some of these accidents occur, the fault isn’t always on the rider. Some accidents are due to scooter malfunction such as the brakes not working or the throttles sticking.
Watch YouTube Video: Electric Scooter Injuries on the Rise. In the video below, emergency room doctors are seeing an increase in injuries occurring from electric scooters.What Do I Do If I Have Been Injured on an Electric Scooter?
If you’ve sustained severe injuries in an accident involving a motorized scooter, there are a few steps you need to take immediately:
- Seek Medical Care – The sooner you get treatment for your injuries, the more likely you will make a full recovery.
- Take Photos - Take pictures of your injuries, the scooter and the area where the accident happened.
- Report the Accident - Call the scooter company and report the accident.
- Get Witnesses Information – If your accident happened in a public place, chances are someone saw it. Be sure to talk to the witnesses and get their contact information.
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer - Reach out to a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento for a free consultation about your legal rights.
The scooter companies may be held liable if they fail to comply with city laws, such as not providing designated parking racks. However, the scooter rider will likely be held responsible for failing to park or operate the scooter properly.
If the rider sustained injuries in an accident that was due to a scooter malfunction, the rider could hold the scooter company responsible for any resulting damages. If it was due to a traffic accident, the rider would likely hold the driver liable.E-Scooter vs. Car Accidents
Just like in any other traffic accident cases, the legal concept of negligence usually applies when building a case to hold another driver liable for the accident. The injured party must establish these four components:
- Duty – the injured person must determine that the other party has a responsibility to drive his or her car safely.
- Breach – the injured person must prove that the other party breached this duty.
- Causation – the injured person must show that the breach caused the accident.
- Damage – the injured person must confirm that the accident resulted in injury.
If successfully proven that the scooter accident led to injuries which required medical treatment, the injured party could receive financial compensation to help pay for any costs that result from the accident. This may include past and future medical bills, and past and future loss of income. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento for more information.Electronic Scooters Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are electric scooters legal?
A: According to the current California state law, electric scooters are legal but with a few restrictions:
- Riders must have a valid driver’s license or learners permit.
- Riders under 18 years old must wear a helmet.
- Riders can't ride on the sidewalk.
- Riders can't ride on the street with a posted speed limit over 25 mph unless they are in a bike lane.
- Riders must stay on the right side of the road and closer to the curb if a bike lane is not available.
Q: Can you ride electric scooters on the sidewalk?
A: The law varies from state to state. However, in California, electric scooters are not permitted on sidewalks, unless riders are leaving or entering a property.
Q: Where can I find electric scooters?
A: You can find them in the same racks designated for electric bikes in downtown Sacramento and West Sacramento. The only difference between renting the scooters in Sacramento and other cities in California is that you can't leave the scooters on the sidewalks. They must be put back on the racks.
Q: How do I rent an electric scooter?
A: You'll be able to rent a Jump electric scooter using the Uber app. Through the app, you can locate and reserve the closest scooter in your area. When you get to your scooter, use the app to digitally unlock it and ride to your destination. Once you are done riding, simply put the scooter back on the rack and digitally lock it with the app.
Q: Which electric scooter is the best?
A: There are many great electric scooters on the market that range from affordable to very expensive. Depending on your budget, you can find a great one at a reasonable price. We'll mention three of the best, starting with the least expensive:
- Razor R 325 - At $259.99, the Razor R 325 can travel 15 miles per hour and can last about 40 minutes. When the battery runs out, you can ride it like a normal scooter using your leg power to get you where you need to go.
- Glion Dolly - At $499, the Glion Dolly can top speeds of 15 miles per hour and can last up to 15 miles per charge. It folds very quickly and can go from open to close in just one second.
- Inmotion Lively Electric Kick - With a hefty price tag of $799, the Inmotion Lively Electric Kick can go as fast as 15 miles per hour and rated for 25 miles. It has a cool cruise control system, so you can relax and stay at a consistent speed for a while.
Q: Which electric scooter is the fastest?
A: The fastest electric scooter is the NanRobot LS7. This scooter can top speeds as fast as 52 miles per hour. It has two independent high-speed motors that provide enough power to climb hills and enough battery capacity to go about 56 miles.
Q: What electric scooter does Lyft use?
A: Lyft uses the Shared Scooter Model Max from Segway-Ninebot, which was unveiled at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Shared Scooter Model Max features thicker wheels and tires and a broader base, which provide more stability. It also has improved brakes and longer battery life.Sacramento Electric Scooter Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Electric Scooter Accident Lawyer. As electric scooters become more mainstream, the number of scooter-related accidents are expected to increase. If you have been involved in an electric scooter accident and suffered severe injuries - whether it was caused by a scooter malfunction or by another driver - you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. You will need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you achieve the best outcome. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
I have assisted numerous people in the Sacramento region and throughout northern California with cases involving traumatic injuries from car accidents and other injury-related accidents.
I belong to two organizations:
- The Million Dollar Advocates, which recognizes attorneys who have won cases worth more than $1 million for a client.
- The National Association of Distinguished Counsel, which honors the top one percent of attorneys who provide excellent legal services to their clients.
You can learn more about my personal injury law firm by looking at our client reviews and past cases on the following links:
Photos attribution: Denniz Futalan, Brett Sayles from Pexels
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