Surely your’e familiar with bicycle rental programs in big cities – but what about the new electric scooter craze?
Visit San Diego, Los Angeles or Oakland (among others) and you are sure to spot hundreds of electric scooters roaming the city streets. These scooters are rented through smartphone apps like Bird and have some interesting characteristics.
One of these is that they are “dockless”. That is, you unlock the scooter from the app and when you’re done just leave it wherever your destination happens to be. Kinda cool, huh?
The problem lies not in the system, but in the participants. Many of the inexperienced riders zip around the city with little regard for the rules – riding up and down sidewalks often (dare I say, usually) without helmets; weaving in and out of traffic with a level of confidence that is chilling to seasoned bike riders.
There are significant merits to the programs, but on the same token a huge amount of liability. This liability lies not just on the companies but also on the shoulders of other riders, bicyclists, drivers and ultimately the city itself. News stories are popping up across the US, many of the victimes suffering life-threatening injuries.
The city of San Francisco was having none of it, with an SF City Attorney sending a cease-and-desist letter to the companies operating electric scooters in their city. Since then, the city officials have engaged in long discussions over potential avenues for regulating their continued presence.
Meanwhile, accidents involving dockless scooters will naturally follow them wherever they go. The question is whether cities, riders and the companies will be able to regulate them in a way that keeps them reasonably safe.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County Personal Injury attorney with decades of experience serving Southern California. If you are in need of an extraordinary lawyer, contact our offices today.