Avoid E-Scooter Dangers and Stay Safe
They’re everywhere – in front of your house, on your sidewalks, blocking your driveways, and just about anywhere else. The popularity of electronic scooters (“e-scooters”) in Pittsburgh has boomed since the city launched a pilot program in an effort to build a better infrastructure and transportation system. Those interested in taking the scooters for a test drive can find them at strategically placed charging hubs throughout the city or anywhere, really.
The introduction of e-scooters is part of a broader framework aimed toward more sustainable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly ways of getting around the city. However, the reception has not been entirely positive. At best, the scooters provide quick, “clean” transportation with just a simple configuration on your smartphone. At worst, the scooters can be inconvenient, disruptive, and downright dangerous.
While the scooters should be left at a charging station, near the end of a block, or in a designated parking area after use, there have been increasing reports of abandoned scooters blocking streets, access points, and sidewalks. Perhaps more importantly, the scooters can go literally almost anywhere, including the wrong direction on one-way streets, sidewalks, and in heavily-congested areas. Of course, this poses a significant safety risk to not only the operator of the scooter, but surrounding pedestrians and drivers.
Electronic Scooter Accidents and Injuries
It is obvious that e-scooter accidents can result in serious injuries, including head and brain injuries, broken bones, “road rash,” and worse. Between 2017 and 2019, e-scooters resulted in an estimated 50,000 emergency department visits and at least 27 fatalities, with injuries and deaths on the rise year over year. Studies have shown that you have a significantly higher chance of being hurt while riding an e-scooter than if you were walking or riding a bicycle. Even if you are using the e-scooter with extreme caution, accidents can still occur due to defects in the scooter itself, potholes and issues with terrain, and careless motor vehicle drivers that don’t see you.
In an effort to mitigate and reduce injury and damage, cities like Pittsburgh have implemented various safeguards for the use and placement of the e-scooters, including:
- Minimum ages to operate;
- Scooters should be used on the street, in bike lanes, and other designated bike paths;
- Scooters should NOT be operated on sidewalks, in dense pedestrian areas, and streets with faster traffic speeds; and
- Helmets are strongly recommended but not required.
The jury is still out on just how safe these scooters will prove to be, but it’s clear that they are not going anywhere anytime soon. At some point once more data is available, it is anticipated that legislatures will implement more formal “rules of the road.” For now, the technology isn’t quite perfect, but with increased oversight from cities and general operator responsibility, the scooters likely can be part of any city’s long-term sustainable transportation plans. In the meantime, mindfulness of scooter operators as well as nearby pedestrians and drivers is the best way to avoid accidents.
Contact our experienced attorneys today
If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident, contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation to determine if it makes sense to pursue legal action. Representatives are available 24/7.