Case for Carbone: What Happens When You’re Hurt on an E-Scooter?
Posted June 3rd, 2019 by Anthony Carbone, PC.
In concept, it sounds like a fantastic idea! Traffic jams are the norm in downtown Hoboken. Meanwhile, parking resembles a matter of hunt and dive into spots. An e-scooter sure sounds like a viable solution. One problem. What happens if you’re hurt on one?
Thanks to a recently signed bill, e-scooters are now permissible in New Jersey. Hoboken is the first city to take on the new means of transportation. According to the new law, “low-speed electric scooter means a scooter with a floorboard that can be stood upon by the operator, with handlebars, and an electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion at a maximum speed of fewer than 19 miles per hour.”
In the meantime, you should also know that the same amendment to NJSA 39:1-1 allows for electric bicycles. This accounts for two- and three-wheel vehicles with pedals. The electric bikes cannot exceed 20 mph and are equipped with motors that assist the rider while pedaling. The City of Hoboken took the first steps in New Jersey to institute an e-scooter sharing program. Their pilot program started just weeks ago and utilizes Lime operating dockless Lime-S scooters and P3GM operating Ojo scooters.
- However, there’s something you need to know. Several major cities have implemented e-scooter sharing programs across the country. Unfortunately, reports of related injuries and deaths suggest a cause for concern.
An E-Scooter Can Mean an Accident
In some cities, it’s not just traffic concerns that add to the appeal of e-scooters. They’re also promoted as an effective means to enjoy sightseeing. Additionally, some universities permit electric scooters to move around large campuses. Some places where e-scooters currently exist include:
- Santa Monica
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco
- Portland, OR
Here’s the frightening news. Just a couple of weeks ago, a young man in Nashville lost his life. An automobile struck him while he was riding in the downtown area. As Hoboken enters the marketplace, many cities are considering banning e-scooters. Surely, that has everything to do with the fact that eight deaths are reportedly tied to the alternate means of transportation. And, that’s not to mention the countless claims for accidental injuries.
Using Electric Scooters: Hoboken Style
Hoboken’s decision to try out e-scooters is only a six-month pilot program. Don’t even think of adding a passenger to your electric scooter. They’re designed for just the driver. You also can’t ride the e-scooter to the bus or the train and expect to bring it on board with you. Here’s something else you should know. While the City has a few educational events planned, many e-scooter riders just “wing it.” Or, turn to the internet to view instructional videos. It’s not as if you need a license or certification to use an electric scooter.
In the meantime, the rest of the rules regarding the use of e-scooters aren’t obtrusive at all in Hoboken. They boil down to the following:
- Never ride on the sidewalk.
- Always yield to pedestrians
- Obey stop signs, traffic signals, and rules
- Only travel in the direction of traffic (not the wrong way down one-way streets)
- Never block sidewalks or crosswalks when parking a Lime scooter (park next to the curb); Ojo scooters must be parked at JerseyBike stations only.
From all appearances, e-scooter rules somewhere resemble the expectations placed on those who operate regular bicycles. Unfortunately, you already know the chance for bicycle crashes. Will the enhancement in speed increase the probability of e-scooter accidents?
The Risk of E-Scooter Accidents
On a cursory review of the new e-scooter law, one risk factor appears evident. New Jersey imposes helmet law to decrease the impact caused by motorcycle crashes. That said, the same conditions aren’t required by e-scooter riders. Imagine the damages associated with hitting your head on the pavement – at any rate of speed.
All things considered, there a few reasons the e-scooter accidents happen with increased frequency. Among them are:
- E-scooter inexperience
- Distracted driving (on the part of the e-scooter driver or motor vehicle operator)
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs (by either driver)
- Motor vehicle operator fails to yield to e-scooter
- Problems with the electric scooter
Electric scooter operator or driver of car operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
That said, you can imagine that severe harm may occur as a result of a seemingly simple ride. And, you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the claims process if it happens to you.
Whether e-scooters will make their way to Jersey City or other larger New Jersey municipalities, remains to be seen. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone remains committed to assisting personal injury victims in processing claims. Give us a call at 201-829-3805 to see how we can use our three decades of experience to help you.