An Atlanta City Councilman is asking the city to investigate its ability to make changes to the e-scooter rental agreements that limit the legal rights of riders.
City councilman Michael Bond spoke with Senior I-Team reporter Dale Russel about his concerns about riders signing away their rights to sue when they sign up for a ride. Many riders sign up for electric scooters without reading the full agreement, and the councilman wants to ensure people’s legal rights are transparent.
One Bird e-scooter rider, Patricia Randall, discovered her inability to sue after falling face-first off a scooter and fractured bones in her cheeks and broke her thigh bone. She discovered she could not sue and is now in arbitration trying to recover the costs of her medical bills and pain and suffering: “It was all of a sudden it just accelerated forward really fast, and it threw me forward. And, there was nothing I could do to recover.
There are currently four licensed scooter companies in the Atlanta area, and all have some arbitration agreement. If you file a claim against one of the companies for any reason, you will have to go to the arbitration where the company is headquartered unless the company agrees to come to you.
Since February 2019, Atlanta has reported more than 252 injuries and four deaths from e-scooter accidents. The city council started keeping track of the injuries in March of 2019 by requesting that 65 hospitals and medical clinics report all their e-scooter injuries. It seems, however, that not one clinic or hospital has reported an injury since 2019.
Councilman Bond wants to have the public safety or public works committee open an investigation, review the current e-scooter company contracts, and determine if the city can require the companies to make their sign-up agreements more transparent.
According to Bond, “We need to make sure that as the city allows these uses, they are not detrimental to the public ultimately. And, so if we are not getting the data, we can’t assess the situation accurately. I don’t want to say it’s deceptive, but it certainly needs to be made more clear to the rider what is at stake when they are getting on the scooter.”
While the I-Team reached out to Bird for comment, the company did not respond.
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