Rise in Injuries Sparks Concern About Electric Scooter Safety
February 9, 2020
Whizzing around on an electric scooter can be a fun and money-saving way to travel, especially in a city. However, a recent study at UC San Francisco shows a 222% increase in electric scooter injuries from 2014-2018. According to researchers, more than 39,000 riders sustained injuries serious enough to require emergency room treatment. In addition, almost one-third of these patients suffered head trauma such as concussions and brain bleeds. Here are some important facts about electric scooter safety.
What are electric scooters?
Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters or dockless electric-assisted scooters, are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas such as Detroit. Riders enjoy the convenience of getting from place to place without searching for parking spaces or using expensive lots. People typically ride short distances of approximately a mile on the scooters, which can travel up to 15 mph. Using a smartphone app, riders can rent scooters from companies such as Bird, Lime, Spin and Boaz in Detroit and other municipalities.
Why electric scooter injuries are on the rise
The most common scooter injuries are fractures, contusions, abrasions, and lacerations. However, other researchers have obtained results similar to those found at UC San Francisco. A recent study in the American Journal of Otolaryngology showed that scooter-related head and face injuries have tripled over the past decade.
The main reason for the increase in head injuries is that most electric scooter riders fail to wear helmets. And, only those riders under the age of 19 are required to wear helmets under Michigan law.
In addition, many accidents occur because riders are not paying attention to cars or other obstacles in their path.
“Scooter riders, like motor vehicle drivers, should avoid using cell phones, headphones and other distracting devices,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm.
Furthermore, scooters have smaller wheels than most bicycles. Therefore, riders are more likely to fall when encountering ridges, bumps and holes in roads and sidewalks.
What are the laws for using electric scooters?
Currently, there are no specific state laws for electric scooter safety. Therefore, riders and scooter companies are expected to follow the Michigan Vehicle Code statutes for “electric skateboards.” Here are some of the highlights:
- Scooter riders, who must be 12 or older, may only ride on roads with speed limits of 25 mph or less. In Detroit and other municipalities, riders cannot exceed the maximum scooter speed of 15 mph.
- Riders should use designated bike lanes or stay in the right lane of a road.
- Scooter riders must yield to pedestrians.
- If riding before sunrise or after sunset, scooters must be equipped with proper lighting.
Riders who violate public safety codes may be charged with a misdemeanor. If found guilty, they could face a maximum fine of $500 and/or up to 90 days in prison.
Electric scooter safety tips
- Always wear a helmet.
- Never operate an electric scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Don’t ride tandem. Electric scooters are meant for one rider only.
- Focus on your surroundings. Avoid using a cell phone or wearing headphones while riding.
- Don’t hang bags or backpacks from the handlebars.
- Before riding, check the scooter for damage and test the brakes and throttle.
- When not in use, park scooters in an upright position out of the path of pedestrians or traffic.
What should I do if I’m involved in an electric scooter accident?
Electric scooters are not considered motor vehicles under Michigan no-fault insurance law. However, depending on the circumstances, you may still be eligible for compensation if you’re injured in an electric scooter accident.
Therefore, if you or a loved one is hurt, it’s important to contact an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Michigan accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.