The electric scooter phenomenon is not going away anytime soon. You may be seeing more and more of the two-wheeled vehicles on which operators stand as they glide along the streets and sidewalks of California. So far, no federal laws regulate where scooters may operate or whether their riders must wear helmets or other protective gear. However, some states are slowly creating rules to protect scooter operators and those around them.
Whether you have discovered the fun and ease of using electric scooters to get around town or you encounter others on their scooters as you walk, you probably know there are certain risks involved for both riders and pedestrians. Lately, those risks have been making headlines as hospital emergency departments continue to report a rise in serious injuries from scooter accidents.
In California, you need no special training or certification to operate a scooter. As long as you have a driver’s license, you may rent one or ride your own. Many choose scooters over other modes of transportation because they are cheaper, convenient and better for the environment. However, the latest reports show that, between Sept. 2017 and Aug. 2018, almost 250 people ended up seeking medical assistance at emergency rooms in Los Angeles alone for the following injuries and more:
- Fractures, especially to the ankles, wrists and forearms
However, the most common and devastating scooter injuries are head injuries, including brain bleeds. In fact, several victims of scooter accidents required treatment in a hospital’s intensive care unit for brain injuries. Brain trauma can result in lifelong disabilities and challenges requiring ongoing medical treatment and therapy.
Not just scooter operators
If you ride a scooter, you may have had many close calls from cars and trucks. Drivers may not see you or may be traveling too fast to avoid you. On the other hand, you may be a pedestrian who has suffered injuries because of a reckless scooter operator. California does not allow scooters on sidewalks, but some operators prefer not to tangle with the traffic, so they glide among pedestrians, sometimes at speeds higher than 15 mph. Some scooter operators also carelessly discard their rented vehicles on the sidewalk, where you may trip and suffer serious injuries.
If your injuries resulted from the negligence of someone else, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other expenses related to your accident.