Risks of E-Scooter Rentals in St. Petersburg and Tampa
In 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the use of e-scooters on bike paths and streets throughout Florida, though municipalities can still restrict their use. Since then, dockless e-scooters have been widely used in Tampa and have recently been approved for use in St. Petersburg as well. Interested users can rent an e-scooter via a smartphone app of the e-scooter rental company and just leave the e-scooter at their target destination. But while convenient and better for the environment, e-scooters also come with unique hazards to riders.
Spotlight on the Safety of E-Scooter
A joint study by the CDC and one city’s Transportation and Public Health departments raises questions regarding the safety of e-scooters. For 87 days in 2018, researchers studied e-scooter use in Austin and found that 190 people, which is approximately 20 riders in 100,000 rides, sustained probable or confirmed injuries while riding e-scooters. These injuries required emergency treatment. The researchers also believe that there were other injuries that required lesser treatment or urgent care. Likewise, head injuries accounted for almost half of the confirmed injuries.
In addition, a study related to e-scooter safety and injuries in two emergency centers in Los Angeles that were published in the JAMA Network Open posed similar safety concerns. The study concluded that e-scooter injuries were more common than pedestrian or bike injuries and that head injuries make up 40.2% of these injuries.
While most e-scooter rental companies require renters to be 18 years old and above, enforcement is sorely lacking. In the Austin study, about 4.7% of injuries occurred in riders that were younger than 18 years old, while in the Los Angeles study, about 10.8% of injured riders were also 18 years old or younger. Furthermore, most injured e-scooter riders don’t wear helmets, increasing their risk of more serious injuries.
When E-Scooter Use and Personal Injury Collide
As with all modes of transportation, despite all the age requirements, training, and safety information, accidents could still occur. Errors do happen, and unfortunately, crashes and injuries usually follow. Common injuries that result from e-scooter accidents that can involve riders and/or pedestrians include:
- Mild to severe head injuries
- Broken hands, wrists, arms, noses, ribs, and legs
- Tears to rotator cuffs and anterior cruciate ligaments that need surgical treatment
Unfortunately, injured e-scooter riders are finding that their legal recourse is very limited. When riders rent e-scooters, they have to agree to specific terms and conditions that they’ll need to access through a link, which most riders, especially the younger ones, don’t really read and/or understand. But the terms actually include a waiver that either waives all legal rights or limits the ability of injured individuals to sue the e-scooter rental company. Fortunately, some plaintiffs with pending personal injury cases are looking to challenge the application and validity of these waivers.
Consult an Experienced St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries due to an e-scooter accident, you may be able to recover compensation to cover your losses. Call Tragos, Sartes, & Tragos at 727-441-9093 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation with a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney.