Dallas electric scooter rentals have been very popular, with nearly 4-million rental rides tallied since they first debuted in June, 2018. Until the time of COVID-19 and the eventual quarantine, an ever-increasing number of electric rental scooters were seen zipping around Dallas. As public health precautions began in earnest, two of the scooter companies, Ojo and Lime, temporarily removed their dock-less vehicles. That possibly left fewer than half of the 13,000 scooters deployed before the coronavirus pandemic shut down Dallas.
In addition to the reduction due to the quarantine, numbers dropped further because of people staying at home and social distancing. Along with the factors noted above explaining the drop of electric scooter rentals, are the stricter guidelines, newly passed, limiting the use of the scooters.
Even with the new limitations, reports about serious accidents that can occur with these scooters – truly motorized vehicles – still present safety and legal issues.
Stricter regulations with Dallas electric scooter rentals
New stricter regulations that deal with these rentals now include a 20 mph speed limit, a ban on rides after midnight – even 9 p.m. for some areas – and fines for companies if they leave a vehicle parked incorrectly. These new rules also ban riding scooters on sidewalks and impose a $200 fine on riders who don’t follow the rules.
Even with the recent limitations on the use of scooters, there are still issues with their speed and the resulting injuries.
Hospital reports of injuries seen due to motorized scooters
The Emergency Department at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas has tracked scooter mishaps and found 57-percent of injuries happened after 7 p.m. For those who showed up at the ER, 58-percent had broken bones, 43-percent had facial injuries, and 35-percent suffered brain injuries. In total, Baylor recorded 322 emergency room visits from July 2018 through September 2019 – 55 of those visits required hospitalization, including 14 ICU patients and one reported death.
Dallas is not unique in in this matter. Around the nation, ER doctors have pointed out an increase in the number of serious accidents that accompany the rise in use of motorized scooters. These statistics are probably low as it should be remembered that not everyone who gets in an accident involving an electric scooter is going to go to the ER or call 911.
Causes of electric scooter accidents
In some scooter accidents, the scooter operator is inexperienced and simply loses control and crashes. In this type of accident, there generally is no possibility of a personal injury claim since the operator was at fault. Though, in some circumstances, it is possible that a lawsuit could be brought if it can be shown that the manufacturer, or company that rented the scooter, did not provide sufficient warnings and/or instructions about how to use the scooter safely.
Other accidents with electric scooters may involve automobiles. If a car driver does not yield to a scooter rider in a crosswalk, the rider could be entitled to serious compensation for injuries sustained. In most of these automobile-scooter crashes, the scooter rider suffers serious injuries, such as broken bones, head trauma, and internal injuries. When this type of collision occurs, the rider could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Will electric scooters survive COVID-19 and stricter rules?
It remains uncertain whether the electric scooter rental market will survive COVID-19 and the new stricter regulations at all, much less at the level it had attained.
Regardless of their future, the scooters can present significant safety and legal issues that cannot be understated.