E-scooters: Safe means of transport or a recipe for disaster?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Motor vehicle accidents |

Many college students in Connecticut these days choose a zippier form of transport than walking or biking. These students choose to ride an e-scooter to class, to visit friends across campus or when heading out for some fun when their studies are complete. Many cities even offer city-owned rentable e-scooters for the public use. However, is riding an e-scooter in Hartford safe? One report says no.

Rider errors or product defects?

Are e-scooters a safe form of transport? Often this depends on the rider. A person using an e-scooter who weaves between lanes of traffic, goes faster than the stated speed limit, sails through stop signs or red lights or otherwise rides recklessly is putting their safety and the public’s safety at risk.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that even responsible e-scooter riders can present a danger to themselves and pedestrians. The study states that e-scooter riders suffered more injuries per mile ridden than those riding bicycles. E-scooter riders were also two times as apt to suffer injuries due to faulty infrastructure such as potholes, cracks in the pavement and the placement of lampposts and signposts. However, bicyclists were three times more apt than e-scooter riders to be struck by a car. E-scooter riders were more apt to sustain a skull fracture and lose consciousness if involved in a crash, especially since the vast majority of e-scooter riders studied reported that they did not wear a helmet while riding.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that across the U.S. between 2017 and 2019, approximately 50,000 emergency room visits involved e-scooter injuries and approximately 27 people lost their lives during that same time period in e-scooter accidents.

What can be done to protect e-scooter riders?

The IIHS concluded that increased helmet used and keeping roads and sidewalks in good repair would help lower the number of e-scooter riders that suffer injuries in an accident. E-scooter riders who were traveling at a higher speed suffered more serious injuries than those travelling at lower speeds, so cities can help keep e-scooter riders safe by lowering speed limits. Ensuring that sidewalks are in good repair may also lower the number of serious e-scooter crashes, as e-scooter riders will not be riding next to cars and will have smooth surfaces on which to travel.

What happens if an e-scooter rider is struck by a car?

If an e-scooter rider is struck by a car, they have options for pursuing financial compensation to cover the damages they suffered in the crash. One option may be to pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence. Motorists have a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances and this includes being aware of others around them including e-scooter riders. If a motorist breaches this duty, for example by striking an e-scooter rider, and this breach both causes injuries and these injuries would not be suffered but for the crash, the motorist may face liability for the damages sustained by the injured e-scooter rider.

Of course, any legal claim is complex, and these basic elements of a negligence claim can be countered and interpreted in many ways. Thus, e-scooter riders involved in a car crash will want to ensure they understand all their rights and options when it comes to pursuing compensation for the damages they suffered.