It looks like the battle between electric scooter company Lime and the Reno City Council has finally come to a conclusion, as the city council voted to approve the Lime scooter pilot program in September. This decision represents a stunning reversal from the previous week, in which Lime had rolled out its electric scooter fleet without permission, and the city attorney had subsequently penned a cease-and-desist letter against the startup.
Now that the bright green scooters are here to stay, what does it mean for the city of Reno? Over the past few months, many stories about the dangers of these scooters have come forward, and some cities – like neighboring Sparks – have banned them altogether. If you’re interested in taking a ride on these vehicles, make sure you know how to stay safe, and how to hold the right parties liable if you’re injured. Our Reno personal injury attorneys at Fahrendorf, Viloria, Oliphant & Oster, L.L.P. discuss.
What Are the Risks of Electric Scooters?
Although electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime are gaining popularity with each passing week, they often fail to provide consumers with the necessary safety precautions for riding their vehicles. The scooters themselves are inarguably a hazard when compared to traditional motor vehicle travel. For one thing, they are completely unprotected on all sides, exposing their passengers’ standing bodies to both oncoming traffic and pedestrians. For another, they often cruise at much higher speeds than bikes or even non-motorized scooters: Hitting top speeds of up to 20 mph, they can be deadly when crashed into sidewalks, or into other obstacles.
Lime and Bird have also been guilty of using popular pressure to bring city governments like Reno’s in line, earning the ire of many city councils. By launching stealth pilot programs in cities across the country, they have earned a reputation for skirting the legal definitions of registered vehicles, and of “asking for forgiveness rather than permission.” In cities like Sparks, these attempts to force a scooter revolution have not been well-received, and have led to city-wide bans on the vehicles.
Finally, even when they are not buzzing around the city sidewalks, it turns out electric scooters like Lime can still pose a serious hazard. In San Francisco, they became so rampant that it was impossible for people to leave their apartment buildings without tripping.
How to Protect Yourself from Scooter Injuries
Because the scooters are so cheap and easy to use, many still choose to use them in spite of the potential for injury. If you do try a Lime scooter, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind. Always observe the rules of the road, and keep a careful eye out for cars and passers-by. Make sure that you bring a helmet with you, as wearing protective gear can greatly reduce the risk of getting hurt. Bird and Lime both pledge to send helmets upon customer request.
Finally, if you actually become injured in a scooter accident, you may need to hold the guilty parties responsible. Despite the risks, they are perfectly legal and must be respected on the road like any other vehicle. If a car fails to see you or if you crash after a scooter malfunction, you may be able to seek damages.
Contact our Reno personal injury attorneys at (775) 284-8888 if you’re injured on an electric scooter. At Fahrendorf, Viloria, Oliphant & Oster, L.L.P., we have the experience to review your case and navigate this new and ever-changing area of the law.