Electric scooters are growing in popularity in the Los Angeles area and across the country. They are convenient, inexpensive and fun. They may also be dangerous.
Operators may be a threat to themselves and others, particularly pedestrians, when they do not follow laws or use common sense.
Sidewalks become a battleground
E-scooter operators may suffer serious injuries in accidents such as broken bones and head injuries. Their own behavior may be at fault.
What is less obvious is the risk they pose to others. More and more pedestrians are the victims of e-scooter operators. Pedestrian injuries may occur under a couple of circumstances:
- Collision with an e-scooter: Operators of the devices often ignore California law by riding on sidewalks, or they may zip in and out of traffic without awareness of their surroundings.
- Careless placement of e-scooters: Operators discard them like litter on crowded city streets. Pedestrians may suffer injuries when they trip over the vehicles.
At particularly high risk in both cases are elderly and disabled pedestrians. They lack the reflexes and dexterity to avoid e-scooters. In some communities, residents say they are afraid to go outdoors out of fear of e-scooters.
The injured face another battleground
A major problem is determining liability. Laws and the courts have not yet caught up with the consequences of e-scooter accidents. It may be difficult to determine whether the operators, e-scooter companies, local governments and their insurance companies or other parties are liable.
Frustrated pedestrians often deal with series injuries on their own. They suffer broken hips and fractures, joint injuries, lacerations and deep abrasions. Some pedestrians pay the medical bills themselves because they believe they have no alternative.
The law provides protection
Pedestrians should not have to bear the responsibility for e-scooter operators, companies and local governments. They should not walk their own streets in fear for their safety.
E-scooters may fall in a gray legal area, but pedestrians still have basic rights. One is the expectation of safe city streets.