Since the release of the electric scooters, or e-scooters, in early 2018, they have been rapidly growing in popularity in cities throughout the United States. Although they have a large presence that is continuing to grow, the rules and regulations on riding them are failing to follow suit. Companies such as Lime and Bird, two of the largest competitors in the rental e-scooter market in Chicago, have “rules” set in place that can be viewed on their app while renting, or on their website. But they are unable to properly enforce these rules. If you have been involved in an electric scooter accident, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries you may have sustained.
While e-scooters may seem like they are all fun and games, they have a dangerous side to them that many people who use them fail to notice. Many factors raise the likelihood of an e-scooter accident happening. These accidents can result in a range of injuries, from minor to fatal. If you’ve been injured in an e-scooter accident in the greater Chicago area, get in contact with Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC by calling 312-346-8620 today. You do not want to wait any longer to obtain the justice you deserve. The Chicago electric scooter accident lawyers at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC are ready to fight for you, your case, and your compensation.
What Exactly is Lime/Bird?
Lime and Bird are the two largest rideshare/rental companies in the country at the moment, supplying their bikes and scooters all around the world. They both supply electric bikes, or e-bikes, and electric scooters, or e-scooters. These are electrically powered bikes and scooters that can be rented from anywhere in participating cities by using their corresponding apps. To use the e-scooter, you simply download the app, sign up, enter your banking information, and look at a map to see where the nearest scooter is. You then scan a barcode on the scooter, connecting to and activating it, and it then charges you.
You go forward by squeezing the accelerator on the handlebar and slow down by using the handbrake on the other handlebar, or by pressing down the foot brake on the back of the scooter. The total price depends on the length of the trip and the duration of the trip as well. Lime charges by the hour, and then every minute afterward. Once you are satisfied, you can end the ride, which locks the scooter, then simply leave the scooter wherever you are. These e-scooters reach speeds of nearly 15 mph, about as fast as someone riding a bicycle. However, these scooters are often operated on sidewalks crowded with pedestrians or in the streets alongside cyclists, motorcyclists, and motor vehicles.
What are the Risks?
Riders are putting themselves and the people around them at risk for potential injury by using these e-scooters. Since the debut of electric scooters last year in January, there have been nearly 2,000 instances of injuries and even a handful of deaths due to mistake, misuse, or malfunctioning while using these scooters. This number is far too high for companies that are providing these machines for anyone to use in cities across the globe, especially when they are unable to enforce safety measures.
While the rideshare companies say to always utilize a helmet, they do not provide one. Most users do not then wear a helmet, as the scooters can be picked up from anywhere at any time, and people enjoy using them spontaneously. The lack of helmets increases the chance for head and brain trauma, which can be potentially life-threatening. On rare occasions, these scooters malfunction, and the brakes fail to work properly.
The risks of riding on the sidewalk include hitting pedestrians or any objects on the pathway such as trees, poles, strollers, garbage cans, etc. But the risk of riding in the street is as if not more dangerous. Since you are not protected whatsoever riding a small scooter, the chances of you sustaining a serious injury due to hitting a car or a car hitting you are substantial. If you are going too fast and hit a bump on the pathway such as a curb, a dip, a raised sidewalk, or a rock this can make you lose control of the scooter and cause an accident. These scooters, as they are left anywhere the user desires, also pose a threat to non-users in the event of someone running or tripping over them.
Obviously, with factors like these, companies like Lime and Bird are going to have no way to ensure both users and non-users are safe when around a scooter. The rules the companies have in place are treated by many as more of a guideline and are not followed as there is virtually no way to enforce them. When a company is providing a service that millions around the world are using, the safety of their customers should be of utmost concern. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
In the event that you are a rider, or if you live in a city with a high e-scooter presence, and want to be proactive in preventing injury to you or a loved one, there are measures you can take. When using an e-scooter, be sure to at least wear a helmet, and other protective gear if you have it. Stay slow if you are going through a crowd or near a lot of other pedestrians on the sidewalk and be alert for darting children or someone falling over. If riding on the road, be aware of your surroundings and if a car is turning in front of you or stopping suddenly.
Ride slow, have your hand or foot on the brake, and ride as close to the curb as possible. When walking in a participating city, be alert and wary of your surroundings and who might be zooming past you. Do not move about suddenly, but attempt to distance yourself from the riders. If you are driving, give enough room for riders to pass you or if passing them and slow down when doing so. When turning, keep a sharp eye out. Also be on the lookout for abandoned scooters that may be lying on the side of the road.
I Have Already Been in an Accident, Now What?
In the event that you have already suffered from an electric scooter accident, whether from using or not, a good first step is to get in contact with a lawyer, immediately. The sooner you do, the sooner you and your attorney can get started on your case and the sooner you will be able to get compensated for the suffering you have endured. They will be able to review and assess your personal, unique situation and see if your injuries or damages warrant a case. If so, you will then proceed forward with a lawsuit to whomever is liable in your case and the person(s) at fault will be determined. Comparative negligence may play a part in this, however, so if you at all played a part in causing or escalating your injuries or someone else’s, you may be required to pay as well, or you may not be compensated quite as much.
Why Choose Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC To Represent Me?
When you want to ensure you are getting the best payout for your pain and suffering possible, you want to choose the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC. We are among the very best in the Chicagoland area, having fought hard and secured millions of dollars for the clients we have represented. We know how challenging and grueling an injury can be, and how life can start to quickly spiral out of control and go downhill before your very eyes. This is why we aim to be the strong voice advocating for those who in the event cannot do it themselves. Our lawyers want to help you get what you deserve and will not back down from a challenge.
Electric scooter accidents are no joke. If you have been involved in an e-scooter accident, it is important to get started as soon as possible to get the most beneficial outcomes. We know this can be a confusing time, and we are here to help in any way we can. If you have any questions about your e-scooter accident case, do not hesitate to get in contact with us by phone or chat and we will provide the answers you need so you can get started on your road to recovery. Call 312-346-8620 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of the qualified attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC.