Electric scooters promise to revolutionize commuting in smaller cities like Austin. For a very affordable fee, you can get an electric scooter that travels up to 15 miles per hour, allowing you to get around town or to your nearest bus stop quickly and painlessly. Dockless scooter companies like Bird and Lime have descended on Austin over the past couple years, making scooters widely available.
However, these scooters have proven to be quite hazardous to Austin riders, many of whom have suffered serious injuries.
Dockless scooters Create a Trip Hazard
Bird and Lime are “dockless” because the person using the scooter does not need to return it somewhere like you would if you rented an electric bicycle. Instead, users simply abandon the scooter wherever they see fit. The scooter then sits there until another user comes along who wants to rent it.
Because a user can abandon them anywhere, electric scooters create trip and fall hazards. Some people even abandon them at the door of local businesses, which makes it hard for disabled people to enter the store.
Dangerous to Ride
Scooters also have injured a fair share of riders. A groundbreaking study performed by Austin Public Health looked at injuries caused by riding a scooter in Austin. The results were pretty ugly:
- From September to November 2018, 190 people were injured while riding a scooter. One pedestrian and a cyclist were also injured, bringing the total to 192.
- Half of those injured were young people between the ages of 18 and 29.
- About 50% of those injured suffered a head injury.
- Around 70% suffered an injury to the shoulder, arm, wrist, or hand.
- 80 out of 190 people suffered a “severe” injury, with the vast majority suffering a bone fracture.
- About 15% of those injured probably suffered a traumatic brain injury.
In all, around 20 people out of every 100,000 people who used a scooter during the time period were injured.
Cars Are Not to Blame for Scooter Accidents
One concern people have with scooters is that they will cause car accidents. Most motorists are probably not expecting to come upon a scooter and could overreact, colliding with the scooter or with other vehicles.
However, the study showed this is not the case. Only around 1 in 10 scooter accidents involved a vehicle. Instead, riders were injured when they collided with an object like a light pole or the curb, or when they fell off the scooter because of excessive speed.
Other contributing factors include the state of the road and the scooter itself, which some riders believed malfunctioned. Riders also suffered injuries because very few wore helmets. If helmets can save lives for those on bicycles and motorcycles, then they can save lives for someone riding a scooter.
Injured in a Scooter Accident? Contact Us
Scooter accidents are now a fact of life in Austin. Although the city has recently passed regulations to make riding safer, those regulations focus more on the scooter companies than on rider behavior.
If you have been injured, you might have a claim for compensation. Please contact DC Law today by calling 512-220-1800. We offer a free consultation.