Posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2019 at 2:22 pm
Electric scooters have become popular all over America, including San Antonio and other large cities in the state. In many places, they have been encouraged by city authorities as a part of an approach to providing alternatives to fossil fuel powered transportation.
In San Antonio, there are currently nine electric scooter hire companies. There are around 12,000 scooters somewhere around the city at any one time, not all in action at once. The city has been grappling with how to deal with a vehicle that is neither a bicycle nor a motorcycle, but somewhere in between. There has been a pilot scheme in operation and the city council has made several rules for scooter use which it is hoped will help to eliminate some of the problems that they have presented.
One of the problems is a rash of accidents, some of them quite serious. Both scooter hire’s and pedestrians have been hurt. There are many reasons why the electric scooters have caused a whole new set of potential accident scenarios.
One reason is simply that the scooters are a relatively new technology and many people who pay to use them in the city are not familiar with the way they should be handled. Riders have fallen off when the scooter hits a bump, goes around a tight corner or does not respond to the use of the brakes fast enough.
The scooters have a speed limit of 15 mph. That makes them faster than the ordinary bicycle, but slower than the average motorized vehicle. If they are ridden on a sidewalk they are a potential accident risk to pedestrians or other electric scooter rides and cyclists. If they are ridden on a road, then there is a danger that the scooter rider may be a victim of an accident. The scooters are safest when ridden on purpose built or designated cycle lanes or paths, but there simply aren’t enough of them to satisfy the people who choose to hire them.
Another problem is that the scooter companies do not provide helmets. Those people who hire scooters do so for limited periods of time because of their convenience and speed getting around the city, but generally don’t carry a helmet around with them.
A prohibition on the use of scooters between 11 pm and 6 a.m. was ruled by the San Antonio City Council some time ago, which helps to eliminate the rate of accidents in the dark, but doesn’t totally exclude them.
There have been at least two deaths in Texas attributed to electric scooter accidents; one in Austin and another in Dallas. The rate of emergency callouts and ER visits was reported as having spiked by over 150 percent in Austin after electric scooters were first rolled out in that city.
Electric scooters are just as vulnerable as any two wheeled vehicles and a collision between a scooter rider and a pedestrian, cyclist or anything more solid often ends up with the scooter rider falling abruptly on to the path, sidewalk or roadway. A scooter defect that has not yet been reported in San Antonio, but has affected scooters in some other U.S. cities and overseas, causes the scooter’s wheels to lock up and throw its rider on to the ground. Typical scooter injuries are similar to bicycle accident injuries:
- head injuries including traumatic brain injury;
- bruises, cuts and more severe lacerations
- broken ribs;
- spinal injuries;
- facial injuries including loss of teeth.
Electric scooters and personal injury compensation
There are two main ways in which electric scooters are the subject of a personal injury claim. If you were hit by a negligent scooter rider, then you may have grounds for filing a claim against them. Note that it is unlikely that the scooter rider would have insurance to cover an injury that they may have caused, so the claim would be made against their assets.
The second type of claim would be one made by the scooter rider if hit by a negligent vehicle driver, or against the scooter hire company itself if the accident was caused by a defect in the scooter.
As the use of electric scooters becomes even more popular in San Antonio it is likely that the number of injuries related to this method of transportation will increase. If you have been injured in a scooter accident in or around the city, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney in San Antonio as soon as your injuries allow you to do so. You can contact a San Antonio Lawyer for professional and dedicated legal help at 833-210-4878.