Electric scooter rentals have become increasingly popular, especially in Santa Monica and elsewhere in Los Angeles County and southern California. Under a pilot program that began in September, Bird, Lime, Jump (Uber) and Lyft have been allowed to operate electric scooter rentals in Santa Monica. Bird and Lime will each have 750 electric scooters, and Lyft and Jump will start with 250 each. After the pilot program ends in 2020, the rental companies might be able to increase the number of rental scooters in the city. The city first wants to determine how frequently and responsibly the electric scooters are being used.

Safety Issues

The electric scooter rental companies contend that their scooters reduce traffic congestion and pollution by making them easily available to the public, but Santa Monica is concerned about safe places to ride and park the scooters. California law allows them a maximum speed of 15 mph, and they’re not permitted to be on roadways where the speed limit exceeds 25 mph. As per the parking and safety issues, Bird has offered to pay the city a dollar a day per scooter for improvements. The city is asking all of the rental companies to create conveniently located pick up and drop off zones along with incentives for using those zones and establish effective customer service lines with a 24-hour hotline.

Electric Scooter Accident Causes

Electric scooters present narrow and low profiles in traffic, so public safety and liability are pivotal issues for Santa Monica’s government. Many drivers of motor vehicles just don’t see them, or they don’t see them until it’s too late. At best, the protective barrier between riders, pedestrians, fixed objects, motor vehicles and the pavement that they ride on is minimal. Injuries or even fatalities can result from electric scooter crashes for a variety of reasons. Here are some examples:

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  • Failure to wear a helmet.
  • Using scooters in areas where they’re not allowed.
  • Rider inexperience.
  • Rider carelessness and negligence.
  • Riding in tandem with two people on a scooter.
  • Encountering dangerous road conditions like potholes and cracks.
  • Malfunctioning scooters.
  • Careless and negligent pedestrians, bicyclists and other scooter riders.
  • Motorists making left turns in front of scooters or changing lanes when scooters are in their blind spots or are lane splitting.

Comparative Negligence

If there is an opposing insurer on a scooter accident case, expect that insurer to try to push off at least some of the responsibility for the accident onto the scooter rider. That’s called comparative negligence. For example, if a scooter rider is determined to be 25 percent at fault for an accident, and he or she receives a gross award of $100,000, that award would be reduced to $75,000.

Pure Comparative Negligence

Most states are known as modified comparative negligence states. In those states, if a claimant is 50 or 51 percent at fault for an accident, the law doesn’t allow him or her to recover anything. California is what’s known as a pure comparative negligence state. Even if the scooter rider is 75 percent at fault for the accident, that claimant can still recover 25 percent of their damages.

Wrongful Death

If somebody else was careless and negligent and is responsible for your injuries and damages, you might be able to obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, permanent disfigurement or disability and any loss of a normal life. Additional damages can be sought in a wrongful death claim if a family member perishes in a crash involving an electric scooter.

Contact a Santa Monica Electric Scooter Accident Lawyer.

If you were injured in an accident involving an electric scooter, or if you lost a family member in an accident involving one anywhere in or around Santa Monica, contact us as soon as possible. You’ll have our fullest attention, and we’ll advise you of all of the legal choices that you can make. Don’t give a statement of any kind to an opposing insurer. It will only try to use your own words against you in the future. Anything that you say to us is privileged, so contact us first.