Motorized electric scooters provide their operators with an inexpensive and enjoyable way to get around in large cities. Several companies have taken advantage of their growing popularity, offering rental stations where visitors – often tourists – can access the devices.
Yet e-scooters also present a safety problem, adding another risk to chaotic city streets already crowded with traffic, distracted drivers, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicyclists.
According to EHS Today, the biggest problem with e-scooters are the operators. Uninformed, unprepared or discourteous riders sometimes ignore safety protocols. For example, they ride on sidewalks, where they present a hazard to pedestrians. Or they do not follow traffic laws.
EHS Today says rental companies must take some responsibility for promoting safety. Companies are urged to protect riders by providing safety equipment and through routine maintenance that ensures e-scooters are in prime working condition.
Providence Takes Action
Some communities, such as Providence, have taken matters into their own hands. The city’s Department of Public Works recently released regulations governing e-scooters, according to the Providence Journal. The policy requires:
- Companies obtain authorization from the city’s DPW and pay $1 per day per scooter
- Companies outline how they plan to enforce safe parking guidelines
- A cap of 300 available scooters
- Scooters be unavailable for rent and removed from the street between sunset and sunrise
- Companies accept all liability for any loss related to the use of the e-scooters and to furnish the city with a general liability insurance policy of at least $1 million
- Companies pay the city $50 per scooter to fund public property repair or maintenance related to their use
City Regulations, Company Policies Not Enough
No matter how careful you are as an e-scooter operator, you are largely at the mercy of forces outside of your control. You can employ safe driving techniques and still have your life endangered by a distracted or drunk driver, or someone ignoring traffic laws. If you’ve been in an accident, you have likely suffered catastrophic injuries. You may face a lengthy rehabilitation, unable to pay your bills or support your family. The other driver almost certainly blames you for the accident. An insurance company, sensing your desperation, may try to pressure you into accepting a financial settlement that falls far short of your needs.
The Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC, because it is based in Providence, is at the forefront of understanding the new scooter regulations, what causes accidents and who to hold responsible. Mark Morse has more than three decades of experience handling personal injury and car accident cases throughout Rhode Island. While you focus on your recovery, Morse and his team will handle all legal matters, including investigating the accident to get the real facts and dealing with insurance companies.
Contact us for a free case consultation today.