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Scooter Accident Lawyers in California You Can Trust
Electric scooters have become a familiar sight on the streets of California. They have quickly become one of the most convenient and inexpensive methods of traveling short distances across our state’s major cities. Unfortunately, they have also caused many serious injuries, and the number of accidents is undoubtedly on the rise.
A study reported by CBS 4 Indy found that the number of radiology exams for scooter accidents in Indianapolis had tripled between 2017 and 2018. Interestingly, the study also found that injury victims were twice as likely to be male.
These statistics are playing out across the country, and here in California, as well. If you are injured while riding a Bird scooter, Lime scooter, Spin scooter, Scooterson, Unagi scooter, Skip scooter, Swiftmile scooter, or other types of an electric rental scooter, it is important to protect your legal rights. Our experienced scooter accident lawyers at Arash Law have helped accident victims in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and throughout California.
We know how to handle scooter accident cases. We have experience in negotiating fair settlement offers, filing lawsuits, and taking injury cases to trial when necessary. We stay current on the latest technologies (such as e-scooters) and how they are treated under existing California personal injury laws. We know how to protect your legal right to compensation throughout the case process.
Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California accident lawyer.
Local Regulation of Electric Scooters
In 2018, Section 21235 of the California Vehicle Code was amended to clarify riders’ legal obligations while operating electric scooters. State law now prohibits riders from:
- Operating a motorized scooter unless it is equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Operating a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit in excess of 25 miles per hour unless the motorized scooter is operated within a Class II or Class IV bikeway.
- Operating a motorized scooter without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards described in Section 21212, if the operator is under 18 years of age.
- Operating a motorized scooter without a valid driver’s license or instruction permit.
- Operating a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator.
- Operating a motorized scooter carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
- Operating a motorized scooter upon a sidewalk, except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.
- Operating a motorized scooter on the highway with the handlebars raised so that the operator must elevate his or her hands above the level of his or her shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
- Leaving a motorized scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk, or park a motorized scooter on a sidewalk in any other position, so that there is not an adequate path for pedestrian traffic.
- Attaching the motorized scooter or himself or herself while on the roadway, by any means, to any other vehicle on the roadway.
In addition to these restrictions made by state law, municipalities can also enact their own local rules for the use of scooters within city limits.
San Diego County’s Electric Scooter Regulations
In April 2019, the San Diego City Council enacted new regulations for e-scooter riding within city limits. Within three months, two scooter companies had left San Diego, and a third (Lime) was at risk of losing its operating permit due to repeated infractions. Meanwhile, complaints continued to pour in from angry citizens even after the regulations were enacted.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that, between late June and mid-September, the City received almost 15,000 complaints about scooter usage. A whopping 75 percent of these complaints came from just twenty citizens (each of whom made an average of over 560 complaints).
So what, exactly, are the regulations San Diego has in place? According to the City of San Diego, riders must follow the same rules that apply in most California cities. Scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks. Scooters must be parked without blocking through traffic on the sidewalk or road. Scooters can be ridden in parks and beaches where the use of bicycles is allowed. Beach riding is also becoming more restricted.
The La Jolla Light reports that the San Diego City Council just approved a ban of electric scooters on all beach boardwalks from La Jolla to Mission Beach. This could be a sign of further restrictions to come in 2020. San Diego scooter riders should always pay attention to new regulations and be sure to read all posted signs related to scooter usage.
Los Angeles County’s Electric Scooter Regulations
According to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the following rules apply to electric scooter usage within the City:
- Riders must be 18 and have a valid driver’s license.
- Riders cannot carry passengers.
- Riders cannot travel faster than fifteen miles per hour.
- Riders must follow all motor vehicle laws and local ordinances.
- Riders cannot operate an e-scooter on sidewalks.
There are also specific rules about parking and docking electric scooters in City limits. Riders must not park scooters:
- In front of driveways, crosswalks, and transit stops
- Near ADA access ramps
- Near utilities (such as fire hydrants)
- Along color curbs (such as Accessible Parking Zones-blue and Loading Zones-yellow)
- On landscaped areas or grass
- On sidewalks less than three feet wide
- Leave at least six feet of sidewalk space for pedestrians and persons with disabilities
The City of Los Angeles launched a One Year Dockless On-Demand Personal Mobility Permit in December 2018. As this year-long project wraps up, city officials will analyze the data to determine the impact of electric scooters on city traffic and safety. Currently, the project limits the number of scooters to 3,000 per company (with an additional 2,500 allowed in specified Disadvantaged Communities). An additional 5,000 electric scooters are allowed in the San Fernando Valley.
Sacramento County’s Electric Scooter Regulations
As is the case in many other California cities, it is illegal to operate an electric scooter on the sidewalk in Sacramento. It is also illegal to block sidewalks or curbs. Electric scooters in Sacramento must be docked in bike racks or designated scooter drop zones. The City of Sacramento reports that it will install more drop zones and bike racks as funding becomes available. Drop zones can be found at:
- City Hall (9th St between I and J Streets)
- 20th St and Capitol Ave
- R St at 29th St
- 35th St at Broadway
San Francisco’s E-Scooter Regulations
In September 2019, four companies won permits to operate electric scooters within the San Francisco city limits: Jump, Lime, Scoot, and Spin. The San Francisco Examiner reports that these companies will each be allowed to start with 1,000 scooters. This number can be increased to 2,500 if the companies meet service requirements. If the companies perform well, this could mean a total of ten thousand scooters on the streets of San Francisco.
The permit and service requirements are part of the Powered Scooter Program enacted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. This initial phase will give scooter companies that chance to prove that they can meet the City’s rules for the orderly operation of scooters. This will also give the public a chance to observe scooter use and report violations.
Together, concerned citizens and the MTA will be able to hold scooter companies accountable for following rules regarding the parking, operation, and collection of their electric scooters.
California scooter laws apply to riders in San Francisco. They must hold a valid driver’s license, they cannot carry passengers, and they may not ride on sidewalks. All riders should follow signs and directions related to scooter operation and parking.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Scooter Accidents
Electric scooters are a relatively new technology. Because of this fact, it is not always clear how existing personal injury laws will apply to scooter cases. These are some of the most common questions our personal injury lawyers get about scooter cases:
Do I need an attorney after an e-scooter accident?
You have the legal right to be compensated for any personal injuries you sustain as the result of another person’s negligence. Without the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer, your legal rights can be put at risk. It is important to get legal advice as soon as possible after any accident, including an e-scooter accident. Consulting with an attorney does not mean that you are guaranteed compensation, but it is the only way to be sure that your legal rights are protected.
It is important to hold negligent drivers, companies, and others accountable for the damage they cause. This is the only way to discourage such dangerous conduct in the future and ensure that you do not incur significant uncompensated losses. Fortunately, the lawyers of Arash Law will review the facts of your case at no cost to you, so you have nothing to lose by consulting with an experienced attorney about your scooter crash.
Who is legally responsible for an accident involving an electric bike or scooter?
Existing personal injury laws establish clear rules regarding liability, and these rules can be applied to scooter accidents. A driver can be legally responsible (“liable”) for an accident if he or she was distracted, impaired, or otherwise negligent or violating the law. The scooter rider can also be liable if he or she crossed outside of a crosswalk, against a signal, or otherwise violated traffic laws. Importantly, both the driver and the scooter rider can be assigned partial liability for an accident if both were negligent in causing it.
A manufacturer can also be held liable for an accident if it was caused by a defective vehicle. Auto manufacturers routinely recall vehicles to correct problems that could lead to car accidents. This is because the company is liable for any defects in the design or manufacture of their vehicles (and the accidents that are caused by these defects). If, for example, a driver hit a scooter because of defective brakes, the auto manufacturer could be liable for the injuries sustained by the victim. Similarly, a scooter manufacturer could be liable for defects that prevented the rider from avoiding a collision.
What are some common causes of rental scooter accidents?
Scooter accidents are caused by many of the same factors that cause car, bike, and pedestrian accidents.
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running red lights
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Crossing against the light, outside of a designated crosswalk, or away from the curbs
Some causes of crashes are unique to scooters. Perhaps a rider is unfamiliar with the scooter and accidentally veers directly into oncoming traffic. Or maybe a driver is not familiar with a scooter’s size and attempts to pass too closely.
In these cases, it may still be clear who was at fault for causing the accident, but victims should nonetheless consult with an experienced scooter accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What are the common injuries caused by scooter accidents?
You might think that scooter injuries are usually not very serious because of their relatively low top speed. This is certainly not the case, and like bicyclists or pedestrians, scooter riders have almost no protection from the force of impact. If scooter riders collide with a heavy vehicle, the force of this impact can cause life-threatening injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries suffered in scooter accidents:
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, over 1.7 million people in the United States suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) every year. 5.3 million people in the United States are living with disabilities caused by TBIs. Head injuries can also cause facial scarring, chronic neck pain, and other conditions that can will affect victims for the rest of their lives.
A negligent driver has a legal obligation to compensate victims for all of the damage caused by an accident. This can be a relatively small amount, as would be the case for a concussion that heals on its own in a few days. It can also be a large amount, as would be the case if a serious TBI that prevents the victim from ever working again. It is important to work with a scooter lawyer who knows how to prove the fair value of your personal injury claim.
Broken bones are common in almost any form of trauma. Some minor breaks can heal on their own. More commonly, the victim is left in a cast for weeks, immobilized while the bones heal. Broken bones can be complicated by an underlying medical condition. A vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, or lactose intolerance can all make it more difficult for the body to rebuild your bones. Broken bones can also be complicated by the nature of the break.
If, for example, there is a sharp shard of bone left inside your body, it could pierce nearby blood vessels and cause internal bleeding. It could also pierce a nerve and cause painful neurological damage. Be sure to get all the medical treatment you need to correct these complications. Consult with any specialists that are recommended by your doctor and follow their recommendations.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other non-bony structures of the body. They are common in any type of vehicle accident, including e-scooter accidents. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to devalue a soft tissue injury claim. They will portray the injury as minor or insignificant and attempt to make a low settlement offer as a result.
But the reality is that soft tissue injuries can be horribly painful and have a significant impact on your quality of life. You might need physical therapy, chiropractic services, or other medical treatment in order to manage the pain. Some victims are never able to fully recover and must live with discomfort or limited mobility for the rest of their lives. These are compensable injuries.
Don’t let the insurance company short change you. Work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to prove the full value of your claim and fight for what is right. The law requires a negligent defendant to offer fair compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and any other losses that are a direct result of the accident.
Let us prove these losses so you can focus on recovering from your scooter accident. Call (888) 488-1391
Injured in an e-scooter accident in California? Call Arash Law for a Free Consultation
It can be difficult to know what to do after any traffic accident. Electric scooters can make an accident case even more confusing. Contact Arash Law today at (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced scooter injury lawyers. We have over twenty years of experience, and we have recovered over 200 million dollars for our clients. We have helped injury victims in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and throughout California.