Whether you live in the Austin or are just visiting, chances are you have seen one of the more than 2,000 electric scooters that have popped up in Austin seemingly overnight. These scooters are dockless, quick (up to 15 mph), easily accessible, and in many cases just dumped on the sidewalk once the user has no more use for them.
According to a recent Austin American Statesman article, doctors at Dell Seton on average have treated 1 to 2 scooter related injuries per day since the scooters first started popping up in April. These injuries range from scrapes and cuts to broken bones.
Although safety equipment is suggested, many riders do not wear helmets while operating these devices which leaves them exposed to massive injuries in the event they are involved in an accident. The electric scooters are generally allowed on sidewalks where bicycles are allowed, although there is a patch of sidewalks downtown that do not permit bicycles on the sidewalks that riders should be aware of. According to an Austin Statesman article published on April 20, 2018, the Austin Police Department has stated “Scooters are allowed to use sidewalks when bicycles are allowed to be on sidewalks. However, people using scooters are encouraged to use designated bike lanes, or streets, if the speed limit for that road is less than 35 mph.” Riding a scooter where it is not permitted can lead to a Class C misdemeanor.
While electric scooters can be a fun and exciting way to see the city, they also pose a very real danger to both the rider of the scooter and also the driver’s sharing the roadway with the small devices. The new scooters have not yet become a site that drivers are accustomed to and therefore the risk of a motor vehicle colliding with a scooter is very real. The issue of who is at fault and who will pay for medical bills and damages can be a complex issue which can differ depending on the location and the facts surrounding the accident.
If you or anyone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving an electric scooter, contact the personal injury attorneys at Funk & Associates right away.