Electric Scooter Use Is On The Rise In SoCal… And So Are Scooter Accidents
Scooters with electric motors are popping up all over Southern California and are quickly becoming a primary form of local transportation for many citizens, especially Millennials. Motorized scooter rental companies such as LimeBike and Bird have covered the Los Angeles area with thousands of electric scooters to fill an ever-increasing consumer demand heightened by over-burdened and inadequate freeways, streets and public transportation systems. While these scooters definitely serve a purpose, the rise of accidents involving these scooters is causing concern among authorities and the general public.
Scooter Accidents in California
Injury accidents involving rental scooters may involve collisions between scooters and automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, or even other scooters. According to California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 21235(g), scooters are prohibited by law from driving on sidewalks. However, media and eyewitness reports show that scooters are being ridden on sidewalks all the time, raising the risk of collisions between scooters and pedestrians… and these collisions can cause serious injury.
Unless a superseding local law more strictly prohibits it, California State law allows scooters to be operated in bicycle lanes. In fact, that law in particular mandates that citizens use the scooters in bicycle lanes if such lanes exist. Where such bicycle lanes don’t exist, the scooter may be operated on the road as long as the speed limit on the road is 25 mph or less. As such, scooter ridership in these bicycle lanes also raises the risk of serious collisions between scooters and bikes, as well as between scooters and motorists. Southern California hospitals have noticed an increase in scooter-related serious injuries and are setting up a scooter-related injury tracking system like the one in San Francisco.
Rules in California for Operating a Scooter
Unfortunately, in California, there is no requirement that motorized scooters be registered or that the scooter or its operator carry liability insurance, causing some significant gaps in liability. This also causes even worse gaps in uninsured motorist insurance coverage for accidents involving scooters. In addition, most scooter rental companies don’t provide their users with any significant liability insurance.
This would leave someone injured by a collision with a scooter to look to the scooter operator’s renters or homeowners insurance, just like when someone gets injured because of the negligence of a bicyclist. The injured may also look to seizing the scooter operator’s personal assets as a source of compensation.
While bicyclists, pedestrians and scooter operators may use whatever uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance they may have on their motor vehicle policies should they be injured in an accident for which the operator of a motor vehicle is at fault, their UM/UIM coverage probably won’t apply when they are injured by the operator of a scooter. This is because California law requires only that insurers offer UM/UIM coverage for liability stemming from the use of a motor vehicle, and the Insurance Code limits its definition of “motor vehicle” to include only those vehicles required to be registered under California State law. Scooters are not required to be registered.
California Personal Injury Attorney
At Los Angeles Injury Group, our experienced attorneys have helped clients win cases against those who have suffered injuries in electric scooter accidents. We understand how life-altering these injuries can be, which is why we fight for our clients until they receive proper compensation. If you, or someone you love, received injuries as a result of a scooter accident, call (310) 954-7248.