Electric rental scooters are taking the U.S. by storm. With locations all over the country, including some universities, the scooters provide an efficient and cost-effective means of transportation. That’s not to say, however, that the system doesn’t have its problems. In some cities, this newest mode of travel is creating inconveniences for pedestrians and motorists. Some are even winding up injured as a result of others’ negligence. While the e-scooters are benefiting those that use them, cities are trying to improve the handling involved in an attempt to reduce the overall number of issues for all residents.
The Prevalence of Electric Rental Scooters
Chicago. Baltimore. Louisville. Little Rock. Atlanta. San Diego. Denver. Tampa. New York City. Those are just a handful of the country’s major cities that house e-scooter rentals. The dock-free mode of transportation took off in 2018. Popular companies like Lime and Bird are expanding their services continuously.
According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the number of rides Americans took via dockless scooters and bikes double from 2017 to 2018 to 84 million. As of December 2018, there were 85,000 electric scooters available for rent in approximately 100 U.S. Cities. As these numbers continue to rise, so do the problems.
The process is simple. You download the company’s app, track down a nearby electric scooter, hop on, and you pay when you’re done. The majority of problems arise after the rider has made it to their destination.
Problems Scooters are Causing
While e-scooter accidents are happening, there are also issues regarding the handling of these vehicles. Not all riders are courteous when it comes to riding or parking the rental. As a result, pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists are becoming frustrated.
One of the main issues is that the scooters are dockless. This means that when riders arrive at their destination, they can leave them wherever they want. While it’s recommended that riders refrain from blocking pedestrian walkways, crosswalks, or bus stops, this doesn’t always happen. Some riders are even blocking driveways and private property. When a scooter is left on the ground instead of propped up with its kickstand, pedestrians and bicyclists are at risk for tripping or falling and getting seriously injured.
Different cities have been faced with different problems. For example, Nashville has decided to ban electric scooters after an intoxicated rider, with twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, died while riding one. San Francisco faced issues when three companies, Lime, Bird, and Spin, brought the motorized scooters to the street without securing permission from the city. While New York has legalized the vehicles, they’re allowing cities to write their own rules, so they’re customized depending on the location’s needs.
Regulating the Electric Scooter Problem
There are a number of things the U.S. wants to do to improve how electric scooter rentals are handled. Overall, the goals are to improve safety, ensure scooters are distributed properly in cities, reduce, if not eliminate, the number of scooters that block sidewalks or affect the quality of life in cities, analyze the data scooters produce, and guarantee the privacy of riders.
Currently, cities have access to a Mobility Data Specification (MDS) tool. This helps cities keep track of the scooter and bike-sharing companies that populate their streets. Location data is collected from the rental vehicles and used to do things like decide where to put bike lanes and enforce the rules of the road. While this tool is useful, riders worry about their privacy and e-scooter companies are not on board with the system. The continued development of a system like this can help cities improve how electric rental scooters are handled.
While the scooter companies may find themselves subjected to more rules and regulations, this could be a good thing for riders, pedestrians, and other motorists. This way, e-scooters will still be accessible, but everyone using and around them will be safer.
Get Help if You’ve Been Injured
If you’ve been injured while riding an e-scooter, or if you were injured by an electric scooter rider, you can take legal action to seek recovery for your losses. This area of litigation is new and constantly evolving, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable legal team backing you. The lawyers from Rideshare Law Group are prepared to examine your case and help you with your claim, no matter which city the accident occurred in. For more information on rental scooter claims, get in touch with us today.