On August 17, New York City’s e-scooter rental pilot started in the Bronx. Lime, Bird, and VeoRide were each selected to install 1,000 electric scooter rentals throughout the borough. Almost immediately after being installed e-scooters were spotted on the streets of the Bronx.
While electric scooters offer another eco-friendly transportation alternative to driving in New York City’s already congested streets, they can be incredibly dangerous. Between 2017 and 2019, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that e-scooter accidents resulted in 50,000 emergency room visits throughout the country.
Though e-scooter rentals have only been available in New York City since mid-August 2021, personally owned electronic scooters and bikes have been roaming the streets for years. Since 2020 (pre-scooter rental pilot) there were 588 e-scooter accidents throughout the city.
Electronic scooters don’t just pose an injury risk for riders, they also put nearby pedestrians and cyclists at risk of being hurt.
As residents in the Bronx learn to share their sidewalks and streets with e-scooters, it is important to understand what your rights might be if you are ever injured. Below, we have compiled a few key points to remember if you are ever involved in an e-scooter accident.
Recent Research Highlights E-Scooter Dangers and Risk for Pedestrians
What makes e-scooters so appealing—namely their speed and ability to ride on both sidewalks and in bike lanes—is also what makes them so dangerous.
Most e-scooters can reach speeds of around 20 miles per hour. The average urban cyclist, in comparison, will average 12 to 14 miles per hour.
E-scooters are more likely to be involved in an accident on the sidewalk than a bicycle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that e-scooter riders were twice as likely as cyclists to be injured in accidents caused by sidewalk hazards, such as uneven or cracked pavement, lamp posts, and potholes. The organization also found that per mile, e-scooters caused more injuries than bicycles do.
It is not just riders who are at risk of injury—pedestrians are also susceptible to serious injury. In 2020, before the 3,000 e-scooter rentals debuted in the Bronx, there were 20 pedestrian fatalities in New York City caused by motorized bikes or scooters.
New York City E-Scooter Pilot Comes Amid Spike in Accidents
Electric scooters have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. In 2019, e-scooter rentals surpassed bikes.
Though New Yorkers have not been able to rent e-scooters until now, more and more residents have purchased their own devices to get around the city. As they become more popular, the number of accidents and injuries has sharply increased. Between 2020 and 2021, e-scooter injuries in the city have nearly doubled.
Though scooters are prohibited in some areas of the city where accidents may be more likely to happen, it does not mean that riders necessarily adhere to the rules. On the Hudson River Greenway, for example, e-scooters are not allowed but a reporter spotted two dozen of them in just 20 minutes.
Who May Be Liable for an E-Scooter Accident?
Just as there are numerous ways an e-scooter can be involved in an accident, there are also multiple potentially liable parties. If you are ever injured in an accident, your ability to recover compensation will depend on a few factors. A personal injury lawsuit may result in compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and more.
Here are a few different accident scenarios and examples of who may be considered liable.
If you are riding an e-scooter and you are in an accident with a truck or car: If the car or truck driver was at least partially at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver or truck company that employed them.
You were struck by an e-scooter while walking and the rider was at fault: In some cases, injured pedestrians may be able to file a lawsuit against the rider. If this happens, their homeowners’ insurance may compensate you for your injuries if the policy covered the rider outside their home.
You were riding an e-scooter and a pothole or similar obstacle caused your accident: Depending on where your accident occurred, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner if they failed to address safety hazards, such as cracked or uneven pavement, that resulted in your injuries.
You were injured by a defective e-scooter: Rental companies are required to provide safe scooters to their riders. If a scooter failed to stop, slow down, or contained a similar defect that caused your accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the scooter company. In California, Lime and Bird were hit with a mass tort lawsuit in 2020 for injuries stemming from their e-scooters.
Shulman & Hill represents injured clients across all five New York City boroughs. Our accident attorneys have recovered more than $300 million for our clients over the years. If you are ever injured in an accident involving an e-scooter or a motor vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Every case is unique which is why we offer free legal consultations. We can review the details of your accident and help determine if you may be eligible to file a lawsuit.