Electric scooter use has exploded in the last five years. As a fun and eco-friendly alternative to a short commute or a way of getting around town to run errands, an e-scooter is a perfect mode of transportation. But if the scooter rider is struck by a car, they may suffer life-changing, catastrophic injuries.
So how dangerous are e-scooters? They are usually just fine, but accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. If you’ve been involved in an accident, the legal team at The Joel Bieber Firm can help you file a claim against the other party. Call us today for a free case review from an experienced personal injury lawyer for your scooter accident.
The Unique Risks of an Electric Scooter
If ridden properly, electric scooters are quite safe. Part of riding properly is understanding the distinctive features of e-scooters:
- Easy, swift acceleration
- Small wheels
- Poor handling of rough terrain
- Limited braking and no emergency brake
The design, speed, and purpose of an electric scooter are so different from a car’s that comparing the two can be difficult. One commonality is that crowds, whether heavily-trafficked streets or areas full of cyclists and pedestrians pose a higher risk for a collision or accident.
Another commonality of both modes of transportation is that operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can significantly increase your risk of having an accident and harming others.
Every state has laws against driving under the influence, so many people may mistakenly assume that using an e-scooter instead is safer after a night of bar-hopping. But many states also have laws against public intoxication or being a public nuisance, and these cover operating a scooter under the influence.
Electric Scooters Require Training and Skill to Operate
Many people may rent a scooter thinking it’s a fun, simple way to get around a new city. But just like a car or bicycle, an electric scooter requires training and practice to operate safely, especially in crowds or over uneven terrain.
The lack of bicycle lanes or paths in many cities means that e-scooter riders may either have to share the sidewalk or share the road. Novice riders may need to be made aware of the laws regulating scooters and bikes so they don’t cause an accident through ignorance.
If you haven’t ridden an e-scooter before, you may want to take a few lessons on safe e-scooter operation and look up the e-scooter traffic laws in your state and city. If a police officer catches you violating traffic laws, you’ll likely get a citation.
Other Factors that Make Electric Scooters Dangerous
The small wheels on most e-scooters are the single biggest danger of an e-scooter. Small wheels make it more difficult for riders to navigate irregular surfaces and obstacles on the sidewalk or ground.
The small tires also have low treads, which adds to the dangers. Poor traction can quickly cause a scooter rider to lose control of the vehicle. Scooter wheels are either 8″ or 10″ in diameter; the larger wheels provide more control and safety.
Riders on an electric scooter have a higher center of gravity; this and the increased need to maintain balance can make it tricky for newer riders to stay on the scooter and properly steer it.
Many people assume that a scooter can handle similar to a bicycle, but this isn’t the case. Bike tires are much larger — either 26″ or 28″ in diameter — which makes them much more stable than a scooter. Curbs, potholes, or cobbled streets that are no problem for a cyclist may be prohibitive for a scooter rider to travel on smoothly.
E-Scooter Brakes Can Be Hazardous
Although wheel size is perhaps the biggest risk of an electric scooter, insufficient braking is a close second. Although the design and power of e-scooter brakes vary by manufacturer and design (higher-end scooters tend to have high-quality brakes), the brakes still aren’t as powerful as a bicycle’s with regard to stopping power and control.
The hand controls of many e-scooters aren’t very sensitive, either. Instead of gradually becoming firmer and gently applying braking pressure, they tend to have a more “on and off” handling. Jerky braking can make it harder for riders to control their brakes and increase the chances of taking a tumble.
Mechanical front brakes provide the most reliable braking, but these aren’t present on all models of scooters. If you’re seeking one for purchase rather than rental, opting for a higher quality scooter with the mechanical front brake and larger, softer tires would be the safest investment.
Some e-scooter brakes can be faulty from the beginning. If your accident was caused by a default in the manufacturing of the brakes, a scooter accident lawyer can look into this problem for you.
Common Causes of E-Scooter Wrecks
An electric scooter’s innate instability and reduced control contribute to many accidents. Other common causes of e-scooter accidents include:
- Drivers making left- or right-hand turns; may not see a scooter traveling straight
- Small headlights; scooters look farther away than they are, so drivers misjudge the distance
- Malfunctioning scooters; the driver could stall in traffic or collide with a pedestrian
- Lane-splitting (traveling between slowed or stopped lanes of traffic)
- Improperly changing lanes or cutting off drivers
- Traveling in a driver’s blind spot; drivers can easily collide with scooters they don’t see
These aren’t the only causes of electric scooter accidents. Unexpected obstacles can appear at any time, catching a rider off guard. Regardless of the cause of your e-scooter accident, a scooter accident lawyer can help.
Do You Need a Scooter Accident Lawyer After a Collision?
If you have been hurt in an electric scooter accident, we can help you explore your legal options. The legal team at The Joel Bieber Firm, experienced scooter accident lawyers, will litigate on your behalf against the driver or other party that caused your accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.