The latest transportation app innovation, Bird electric scooters, has begun service in Cleveland and 32 other American cities. There are already reports of these scooters causing pedestrian accidents and other personal injury.
These devices can go up to 15 mph. Users locate the scooter, unlock it with their phone, drive it to their destination and then leave it. Users must be at least 18 and are supposed to ride in streets and bike lanes, park by bike racks and supply and wear their own helmet when required by law. The scooter company will furnish a free helmet for riders who pay for its shipping.
A Los Angeles reporter found that few riders wear helmets and many carry passengers, including children. Scooters have caused hazards for pedestrians by being left unattended on sidewalks. There have been reports of Bird-related accidents in California. One woman was walking on a sidewalk with her 7-year-old son when she was struck by a scooter traveling at full speed and knocked unconscious. Her doctor compared the impact to being tackled by a football player.
A 21-year-old rider on a Bird scooter was injured when he hit a pothole in Indianapolis last month. The impact propelled him over the handlebars and he landed on his face.
Many riders suffered serious injuries requiring hospitalization after these scooters began service in Nashville in May. Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Paul have banned these scooters and similar devices from a competitor from public streets and sidewalks.
The City of Cleveland already contacted the scooter company and asked them to respond to reports of scooters being parked unattended on sidewalks. The City said that there are no permits for scooters placed throughout Cleveland and requested their removal from streets and sidewalks.
Victims of these and other motorist accidents should seek legal assistance to pursue compensation for their losses. A lawyer can pursue negligence accidents when new transportation modes cause injuries.