Santa Monica is joining a number of Southern California cities that are hurrying up to take action against electric scooter rental companies such as Bird and Lime, which are quickly gaining popularity, especially in coastal towns and tourist destinations. According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, Santa Monica is joining Los Angeles in initiating a trial period, which imposes new rules and regulations on scooter companies, which are geared toward public safety. Local neighborhoods have been engaged in a months-long debate about the safety of Bird and Lime scooters.
What Are E-Scooters?
These are essentially dockless, rent-by-the-minute electric scooters that can reach speeds of about 15 mph. These scooters are battery-powered, rechargeable and have GPS trackers as well as wireless connectivity. Companies offer on-demand fleets of these scooters and you can rent them using an app, just like how Uber and Lyft offer vehicles for hire. Several companies make these e-scooters, but the most popular ones are manufactured by Bird, Lime and Spin. The idea has its origins in China, where dockless, park-anywhere bikes such as Jump Bike and LimeBike and extremely popular.
The Problem with Electric Scooters
Under Santa Monica’s program, electric scooter companies can operate only under the condition that they follow the new rules and regulations. So, the companies must apply for a permit, offer safety education and agree to a dynamic cap on the number of vehicles that are out there. Santa Monica joins other cities such as Beverly Hills that are drawing the line in the sand on the scooter issue. City officials in West Hollywood grew so tired of complaints about cluttered sidewalks that they banned the scooters in their city.
But clutter is not the only problem. There have been reports of people suffering serious injuries as a result of these scooters. For example, pedestrians are getting struck by careless riders. While riders are not supposed to operate these vehicles on sidewalks, the rule is not strictly enforced. So, scooter riders who bump into pedestrians and disappear leave injured victims with medical bills, wondering whom to hold liable. Riders themselves are getting injured because these are not stable vehicles. They are tripping on uneven pavement or potholes and suffering severe injuries such as broken bones.
If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident, please understand that you do have legal rights. You may be able to hold several parties accountable including the manufacturer of the scooter, the rental company, the rider who struck you, the city or governmental agency that failed to repair a pothole or uneven pavement. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.