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electric scooter accidents in michigan: what you need to know

Electric Scooter Accidents in Michigan: What You Need to Know

July 29, 2019

Since last summer, more and more people can be seen zipping around on electric scooters. For riders, scooters are a convenient and low-cost way to travel while avoiding costly city parking. However, with close to 1,000 scooters in Detroit alone, electric scooter accidents are on the rise. And, riders and pedestrians are sustaining serious injuries from these collisions in Michigan and elsewhere across the country. 

What are electric scooters?

Also called e-scooters, dockless electric-assisted scooters are commonly used for short journeys, often less than a mile, or sight-seeing. Currently, Detroiters can rent scooters from one of three companies: Bird, Lime and Spin, which is owned by Ford. The scooters are available between 7 a.m. and sunset.

How do electric scooter rental services work?

Renting an electric scooter is a simple process, which is one reason they have become so popular. If you’re 18 or older, with a credit card and valid driver’s license, just follow these easy steps:

  • Download an app from one of the three available scooter companies
  • Upload a picture of your driver’s license
  • Pay $1 to unlock a scooter (individuals who participate in a state or federal low-income assistance program can have the $1 unlocking fee waived)
  • Spend between 15 cents – 33 cents per hour, depending on the company

Electric scooter accidents and injuries continue to increase

According to a Consumer Reports investigation, 8 people have died so far as a result of electric scooter accidents. Among the victims was a 5-year-old boy who died after a car hit the scooter he was riding with his mother. In addition, at least 1,500 scooter riders across the U.S. have been seriously injured since 2017.

Here are some additional facts about electric scooter accidents, according to a recent study:

  • Electric scooter riders visited the ER more often than bicyclists or pedestrians.
  • More than 40% of these ER patients presented head injuries that included lacerations, abrasions or fractures.
  • 15% of the injured riders suffered a concussion or other brain trauma.
  • More than one-third of riders had fractured bones, and 19% had fractures in multiple areas of the body.
  • Nearly 15% of the riders required hospitalization for their injuries.
  • The majority of injured riders were not wearing helmets.

What are the rules for using electric scooters?

Detroit officials have compiled and published a set of guidelines for operating electric scooters in and around the city. Other municipalities across Michigan have created similar regulations.

Here are some of the parameters included in the memorandum for the City of Detroit:

  • Riders cannot exceed the maximum scooter speed of 15 mph.
  • Scooters should be used in bike lanes or in the right lane of a road.
  • Riders should follow the same traffic rules as motor vehicles and bicycles.
  • Scooters may be ridden on sidewalks only when pedestrian traffic is light.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way over scooters.
  • When parking a scooter, riders cannot obstruct public streets, sidewalks, bus stops or other public places.

A rider who violates city codes pertaining to public safety may be found guilty of a misdemeanor. These individuals could be fined up to $500 and/or face a maximum of 90 days in jail.

Scooter rental companies who fail to comply with municipal guidelines may also be cited and fined.

Who is responsible for an electric scooter accident?

Electric scooters are not considered motor vehicles under Michigan no-fault insurance law. However, if you’re injured in an electric scooter accident, you may still be eligible for compensation.

Determining responsibility depends on several factors, such as whether anyone else was involved in the collision. For example, were you hit by a car or did you run into a tree? Or, did you strike a pedestrian with your scooter? Each situation would be treated differently from an insurance and liability perspective.    

That’s why you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Michigan accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.