Since the start of 2018, electric scooters have become a fun and popular trend in the Dallas—Fort Worth metroplex. Companies such as Bird and Lime provide the public with rented scooters strewn throughout the city, giving people the opportunity to ride them wherever they please.
However, e-scooters share the sidewalks with pedestrians and the roads with motor vehicles, which could leave plenty of room for injury. In fact, a Dallas man passed away after a sustaining an injury in an e-scooter accident that happened in September 2018. In February that same year, a man in Austin was struck by a car while riding an e-scooter.
Electronic scooters are inherently dangerous for several reasons. Similar to bicycles and motorcycles, they do not provide the rider with any protection. In addition, e-scooter riders do not have to wear helmets. Since the scooter travels up to 20 miles per hour and collision with a fixed object or a motor vehicle can result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries.
Common causes of e-scooter accidents include:
- Motor vehicles when riding on roadways
- Pedestrians when riding on sidewalks
- Road hazards such as fixed objects
- Inexperienced riders
- Two riders occupying the same scooters
- Low visibility
- Reckless driving
In the event of an accident, rented scooter companies are typically not liable for any injuries. Just like rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft, they carry insurance policies for liability coverage. Yet, in order for users to ride an e-scooter, they must agree to release the company of any liability and assume all responsibility in the event of an accident—unless the accident was caused by a defective or malfunctioning component in the scooter.
If an e-scooter rider is involved in a collision with a car, the driver could be held liable for negligence. However, it is possible the rider could share some blame if he/she operated the e-scooter in a reckless manner or broke any traffic laws.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning the plaintiff’s personal injury award would be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident. For example, if an e-scooter rider receives a $100,000 award after being struck by a vehicle, but is found to be 25 percent at fault, the final amount will be reduced to $75,000. Keep in mind, if any party is found over 50 percent at fault, they will not recover any compensation.