26 Aug

6 Things You Should Know Before Riding An Electric Scooter In A Florida City

Personal Injury

riding an electric scooter in a Florida city

Just over two years ago, Governor Ron DeSantis legalized electric scooters in Florida. Since then, even during the pandemic and perhaps due to the pandemic, rentable electric scooters from companies like Lime, Bird, Spin, and Jump have grown in popularity. Go to nearly any metro area in Florida and you’ll hear from residents and tourists about how enjoyable they are to ride. However, both new and experienced riders should know some important facts about riding an electric scooter in a Florida city in order to keep themselves safe!

  1. Riding an electric scooter in a Florida city may be more dangerous than you realize.

    If you’ve seen people riding an electric scooter in a Florida city (either while you were on vacation or because you live there or live nearby), it probably looked like they were having a lot of fun! If you’ve tried riding an electric scooter in a Florida city yourself, you know that it is a lot of fun, although it may have been a little trickier to figure out than you thought. However, what you may not know – if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid a fall or injury so far, or even if you’ve never ridden before – is that taking a ride on this type of vehicle is risky.

    As e-scooters have risen in popularity, the number of scooter-related injuries and hospital admissions has also risen sharply. It grew by a staggering 222% in just the four years between 2014 and 2018. USA Today reported that almost 40,000 broken bones, head injuries, and cuts and bruises resulting from a scooter accident were treated in U.S. ERs during this time; there were 8 deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission more recently reported that there were at least 27 deaths between 2017 and 2019. For every 100,000 e-scooter trips taken, the CDC estimates that 20 individuals will end up with some sort of injury.

    Because these types of scooters are a relatively new phenomena, research on why scooters are causing so many accidents is still ongoing, but has to do with the lack of regulation and direction for riders, lack of helmet wearing, ease of speed, and because of the vehicle’s susceptibility to bumps and potholes, as well as other factors. Many cities have even attempted to ban e-scooters from their streets and sidewalks due to the danger to drivers, pedestrians, and riders.

    If you’re going to ride, know the risks, and ride with caution!

  2. Even if you’ve ridden one before, that doesn’t necessarily make this ride safer.

    One study conducted by the Austin Public Health Department of Texas and the CDC showed that only 33% of injured scooter riders surveyed were first-time riders; that means that 67% had ridden an electric scooter at least 1 time previously. If you were just to ask most thinking observers, it may seem as though inexperience and lack of operation knowledge would lead to more injuries – which is indeed a factor – but overconfidence may play a role as well. If you’ve ridden e-scooters before with no mishaps, you may attempt to go faster on your next ride, or be less careful overall, and that can have serious consequences for you and the people near you.

  3. If you hit a vehicle or pedestrian, you can be held liable for damages; if you leave it where you shouldn’t, you could be held liable for damages.

    Many people who take a ride on a rented scooter do not realize that there is a legal risk to riding as well as a physical risk. If you swerve while driving your scooter, and cause an accident with another vehicle on the road or crash into a pedestrian, you will likely be found to be at fault for any injuries or property damage sustained by the other parties. If you leave your scooter in an area that causes an accident for bicyclists who must swerve to avoid it or pedestrians who trip over it, you could also be found at fault.

    E-scooter companies do not generally carry liability coverage for riders who are renting their scooters, and individual car insurance does not generally cover any vehicle with less than four wheels. This means that if you are involved in an accident while riding an electric scooter in a Florida city, and are found to be at fault, you could be forced to pay damages without the help of an insurer.

    That’s why it’s not only important to be incredibly careful while operating these e-scooters, but it is also important to consult with a skilled Florida personal injury lawyer immediately if you have been involved in any way in an accident with an e-scooter.

  4. You should probably be wearing a helmet.

    If you look around in any given Florida city, you probably won’t see many other electric scooter riders wearing helmets. There’s no law that says that they have to, and for most riders, taking a scooter is a spontaneous decision, so they didn’t bring one with them. Most people assume that they are safe to ride without one – research shows that 9 in 10 riders don’t wear a helmet when renting a rideshare e-scooter.

    The truth is that data has shown 48% of those injured while riding an electric scooter sustained injuries to their heads; one-third of those had to be transported by an ambulance to the hospital. Head injuries are incredibly serious. Even a concussion, which is considered “minor”, can lead to many debilitating short-term effects as well as long-term effects like memory problems, personality changes, depression, and more…many head injuries can lead to death.

    Helmets save lives, and if you’re going to be riding an electric scooter in a Florida city, wearing one could save yours!

  5. Riding an e-scooter is more dangerous (in some ways) than riding a bike.

    IIHS researches compared e-scooter injury statistics with bicycle injury statistics, and their findings may surprise you. Their data showed that while bicyclists were still three times as likely to be hit by a motor vehicles, e-scooter riders sustained more injuries per mile than bicyclists and were twice as likely as bicyclists to be injured due to the presence of potholes, pavement cracks, lampposts, and signposts. This has to do with where e-scooters are ridden – mostly on sidewalks, as there are bike lanes on roads but no e-scooter lanes yet – and how e-scooters are more likely to be affected by bumps in the road. Bicycles also do not go as fast as easily as e-scooters do; some of these scooters can go up to 20 miles per hour on a crowded sidewalk, while a bicyclist likely would not achieve that speed unless they had an open lane in front of them.

  6. A drunk scooter driver could cause more harm to themselves than a drunk car driver.

    Many people are either under the misapprehension that it’s okay to ride while drunk because it’s not illegal or that it’s okay because it’s safer than driving a car. Neither of those things are true. Operating an electric scooter while intoxicated is illegal; you can be charged with a DUI if you are caught riding an e-scooter with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. And while a car can perhaps do more damage to other vehicles and people on the roads when mishandled by an intoxicated driver because it’s larger and goes faster, riding an electric scooter in a Florida city requires more control over balance and coordination than driving a car does. If you ride a scooter intoxicated, not only are you breaking the law, but you may lose your balance and crash into something, or put yourself in harm’s way of a passing car that may crash into you.

    According to one study conducted by the Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Center, nearly 40% of electric scooter accidents are caused by someone driving under the influence. Don’t contribute to that statistic – ride sober, or don’t ride.

If you or a loved one has been injured while riding an electric scooter in a Florida city, either due to the negligent actions of a driver or of the scooter company, you need to contact The Florida Law Group! We have recovered over $1 billion dollars for injured accident victims around the state, and we know the laws and regulations regarding e-scooters. Our lead attorney, Chris Limberopoulos, is a board certified civil trial specialist, an expert at winning the settlements our clients deserve. During your free consultation, we will take the time to listen to your story, explain your options, and get started building a strong case for compensation! We have 11 locations around the state of Florida: Tampa, North Tampa, Orlando, Miami, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Wesley Chapel, Plant City, New Port Richey, Brandon, and Largo. You can rely on us to fight for the justice you deserve, and you never pay unless we recover a settlement. Call now to speak with our legal team!