ELECTRIC SCOOTER ACCIDENTS IN GEORGIA
Many city streets across Georgia and throughout the United States are beginning to be overrun with Lime and Bird electric scooters. When Atlanta personal injury attorney Seth Bader first saw them zooming around the city streets and sidewalks, and then abandoned waiting to be picked up later, his first thought was “They are an accident waiting to happen.”
Not unlike other programs in Georgia such as bike and car share, electric scooters are quickly becoming a popular form of transportation. The problem is, many of the people who ride electric scooters are using them as toys.
In addition, because no special training and/or licensing is required in the state of Georgia to operate an electric scooter many accidents can and do happen. In fact, all you have to do to rent a scooter is download the app, enter a credit card number, and you will be allowed to rent an electric scooter.
Unsafe Electric Scooter Practices in Georgia
Electric scooters manufactured by companies such as Lime and Bird are putting their riders, pedestrians, and other motor vehicle operators at risk of a serious accident.
Some of the unsafe electric scooter practices in Georgia include, but aren’t limited to:
- People riding without helmets
- Children driving the electric scooters
- Riding the scooters on sidewalks
- Scooters abandoned in the middle of a sidewalk
- Scooters left by building entrances and exits that block handicap access
- Two people riding the same scooter.
Common Risks Bird & Lime Riders Face in Georgia
Electric scooters can go up to fifteen miles per hour in Georgia. If you are hit by a car, you could suffer a serious injury such as paralysis, a traumatic brain injury, or even death.
Some of the man risks you face if driving an electric scooter in Georgia include:
- Less Visible to Other Motor Vehicles. Because electric scooters are small, someone driving a motor vehicle is less likely to see you. In addition, scooters are easily concealed from view to other motorists by other objects on and off the road.
- Scooters That Are Vandalized. There are many people in Georgia and elsewhere that don’t care for electric scooters and are vandalizing them by cutting the brake line. If you get on one of these vandalized scooters you could suffer a serious injury or even death,
- Nothing Between You and the Road. Like motorcycles and bicycles, there is nothing to protect you if you’re in an accident.
- Behavior that is High-Risk. Because many electric scooter riders in Georgia are young, they are engaging in risky behavior such as weaving in and out of traffic, not wearing helmets, having more than one person on the scooter, and driving while intoxicated. All of these behaviors could lead to you or a loved one is seriously injured or even killed.
- Road Hazards. Such things as hitting a pothole, loose dirt, debris, or uneven surfaces could all lead to an electric scooter accident in which you could be injured.
- Panic Stops. If you have to brake hard there’s a high probability that the front wheel could lock up throwing you from the scooter.
- Instability. Because an electric scooter is light and only has two wheels, you could suffer a serious injury if you have to brake hard or have to swerve to avoid another motor vehicle or object.
- Riders Who Are Inexperienced. Because no special training or licensing is required in the state of Georgia to ride an electric scooter, many riders are extremely inexperienced, and this can lead to serious accidents and injuries to you and/or a loved one.
Types of Electric Scooter Accidents in Georgia
Since Lime and Bird electric scooters are quite popular in Georgia, the number of calls the Atlanta law offices of Seth Bader has noticed an increase in calls from people who have been injured in an electric scooter accident.
Some of the most common types of electric scooter accidents in Georgia include:
- Defective Electric Scooters. The most common type of accident that’s been reported in Georgia has to do with defective or malfunctioning electric scooter. Because electric scooters are subjected to heavy wear and tear and consumer abuse, it’s not uncommon for them to malfunction. Companies such as Bird and Lime rely on their riders to report problems with the scooter. However, many people don’t report problems and if you’re taken away from an accident scene in an ambulance, you won’t be able to report the defect or malfunction and the scooter is left there for someone else to rent.
- Being Chased by a Dog. Many breeds of dogs have high prey drives and have been known to chase someone on an electric scooter causing the rider serious injury.
- Avoiding Other Objects. Many electric scooter accidents in Georgia are due to the rider attempting to avoid a pedestrian, a motor vehicle, another scooter, road debris, a dog, and/or a bicyclist.
- Pedestrians. In many cases, a pedestrian is hit by an electric scooter or trips on a scooter left abandoned on a sidewalk.
- Other Motorists. Sometimes another motor vehicle will swerve to miss something and hit a scooter. In other cases, scooter riders have run into open car doors, a turning vehicle, or a vehicle that is backing up.
Georgia and Electric Scooters
In the state of Georgia, there isn’t anything specific in the Official Code of Georgia regarding electric scooters. In fact, the words “electric scooter” is only mentioned once under the definition “motor-driven cycle” which also includes motorcycles, bicycles, and mopeds. Because of the lack of specificity in the Code, many cities in Georgia and elsewhere are interpreting the law one way, while manufacturers of electric scooters such as Bird and Lime are interpreting the law differently.
Bird and Lime don’t want people operating electric scooters on the sidewalk, but many cities in Georgia don’t want them operated on the streets.
Additionally, there’s a lot of confusion regarding scooters needing a license and registration. Another concern is the sidewalk litter electric scooters are causing in cities like Atlanta. Because as a rider you can pick up and drop off an electric scooter anywhere, it’s causing the sidewalks to fill up with abandoned scooters that are blocking wheelchair paths and pedestrians from being able to navigate safely.
Liability for Scooter Accidents in Georgia
One of the problems facing Georgia personal injury attorneys and people injured in an electric scooter accident is a liability. Liability can be difficult to prove, and the question of insurance coverage is confusing.
Health insurance companies in Georgia says that your car insurance should cover medical expenses, and the Georgia car insurance companies are saying that it won’t cover the medical expense for injuries that occurred on a two-wheeled vehicle.
Strangely enough, according to some Georgia personal injury attorneys, it may be that your homeowners or renter’s insurance could cover you in these situations. However, Bird says that the riders use the scooters at their own risk and limit their own liability at $100.00. It’s also possible that the company’s waiver will not stop any claims you may have for gross negligence.
Why You Need a Georgia Attorney for an Electric Scooter Accident
The Atlanta law office of Seth Bader advises anyone who is injured in an electric scooter accident to retain the services of a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced personal injury attorney.
Because Georgia laws are unspecific in regards to electric scooters and liability, a Georgia personal injury attorney will be able to investigate your individual case, and be a strong advocate for you in your claim for damages against the negligent party(ies) that caused your injuries.