Are Careless Scooter Riders Increasing Car Crashes? Our Mobile, Alabama, Car Accident Lawyers Explore the Safety Risks
Over the holidays, Mayor Stimpson posted a picture on Twitter announcing the arrival of “Gotcha” electric scooters in downtown Mobile, Alabama. This is the first time that an Alabama city has introduced dockless scooters.
As a result, Fox10 reported dozens of people taking the new scooters for a spin around the city. Within two hours of their release, at least 80 people had taken a ride.
“It is so much fun,” Mobile, Alabama, resident Daphne Walters said. While these scooters are a fun and relatively cheap way to get around downtown, it’s impossible to ignore the risks. Riders are prohibited from operating the scooters on sidewalks and are supposed to ride in the streets like any other vehicle.
But are the scooters putting other drivers on the road at risk?
Take it from us, Gotcha scooters are stirring up lots of concern around their regulations and safety. As e-scooters have invaded our streets downtown, our Mobile, Alabama, car accident lawyers at Long & Long have put together a list of four things you should know.
#1. Scooter Riders Must Follow the Same Laws as Bicyclists
Gotcha-branded scooters, the city’s only available e-scooters as of now, reach 15 miles per hour and can go 18-20 miles per charge. While they certainly aren’t reaching “Fast & Furious” speeds, they can still do serious damage.
Legally, scooter riders must follow the same laws as bicyclists and must also adhere to the rules of the road along with any other motor vehicle.
“We want them to ride safely in the street, and not the sidewalks,” said Sean Flood, CEO and founder of Gotcha.
These motorized scooters are not allowed on the sidewalks, as they can seriously injure pedestrians, especially when traveling at full speed. However, the scooters can be a danger to motor vehicle drivers, too.
Scooters have become infamous in other cities because many riders are careless, weaving in and out of lanes and breaking traffic laws. Although scooters are much smaller than regular automobiles, all it takes is one careless scooter rider to cause innocent people to get hurt.
#2. There Is a Lack of Scooter Safety Laws
Upon the arrival of e-scooters, Gotcha included several disclaimers intended to help riders and those around them stay safe:
- The CEO of Gotcha has said the scooters are designed for people 18 or older who hold a valid driver’s license.
- Scooter usage is unavailable after 11 p.m. and is supposed to be limited to the downtown area.
- Gotcha encourages users to wear protective helmets and the scooters themselves include an inscription that reads, “Always wear a helmet.”
- Users should not drink and operate a scooter.
- Scooters are supposed to be limited to one rider per scooter.
While these are all important messages, none of these disclaimers are enforced by law. “We’re in the process of figuring it out,” Mobile Police Sgt. Laderrick Dubose, a spokesman with the Mobile Police Department told ALnews.com. “We don’t have anything in place to say this is what you can or cannot do.”
Many of these safety suggestions are ignored by riders, which could lead to an increase in car accidents on our roads.
#3. E-Scooters Are Already Causing Problems
One Mobile, Alabama, man has already been a victim of a hit-and-run accident on Dauphin Street near Franklin Street caused by a pair of careless Gotcha scooter riders.
He is one of over 1,500 people who have been hurt as a result of accidents involving e-scooters across the U.S. Consumer Reports has also found that there have been at least eight fatalities related to the scooters.
As the injury tally continues to rise, it’s important for pedestrians and automobile drivers alike to be cautious when encountering electric scooters and to know their rights in the event they’re hurt due to a careless scooter driver.
#4. The Rider May Be Responsible if They Caused the Crash
If a scooter rider causes a car crash and you’re hurt as a result, who will pay for your losses? Safety and liability remain big questions around e-scooters in our city.
According to ALnews.com, a city spokeswoman said that neither the city nor the company assumes liability in the event there is an accident under the Gotcha agreement. As part of that agreement, the company has to maintain a commercial liability insurance policy with minimum limits of $1 million per occurrence.
Despite the company’s liability insurance, responsibility for any accident-related expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, could likely fall on the scooter rider due to the terms and conditions they agree to before riding.
In other words, the rider can be liable for any damage or injuries they cause while riding a Gotcha scooter. However, if you’re driving your car downtown and get hurt in an accident due to a careless scooter rider, proving liability can be complicated.
As with any type of accident, you must be able to demonstrate that the other party was 100 percent responsible for the crash. In the state of Alabama, you must not share even 1 percent of the blame. Otherwise, you will not be entitled to any compensation. Since Alabama has such complex liability laws, we always recommend speaking with an experienced attorney after an accident.
E-Scooters: Trendy Transportation or Safety Threat?
Although e-scooters can be a great attraction for our city, riders are bound to cause accidents if they aren’t cautious.
Our Mobile, Alabama, car accident lawyers at Long & Long serve individuals who have been hurt on our roads due to someone else’s carelessness. We see the devastating consequences of unsafe drivers every day. It is for this reason that we’re concerned about the dangers of e-scooters and the threat they present to other drivers in our community.
If you’re driving downtown and come across an electric scooter rider, please use caution. This new, trendy mode of transportation can put you and your passengers at risk of an accident.
To learn more about what we do at Long & Long and how our Mobile, Alabama, car accident lawyers may be able to help you after an accident, give our office a call at 251-432-2277 or fill out our free case evaluation form today!