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Are Electric Scooters More Dangerous than Bicycles?

man riding electric scooter on the beach

Electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime claim that e-scooters are no more dangerous than bicycles. We vehemently disagree. As personal injury attorneys, we know firsthand how dangerous electric scooters can be. In this blog, we tell you 6 reasons why electric scooters are more dangerous than bikes.

  • Reason #1: Electric scooters have smaller wheels than bicycles. Bicycle wheels, with their larger diameter, are able to overcome roadway defects of greater magnitude. The center of the bicycle’s larger wheel is higher off the ground than the center of a scooter’s smaller wheel. Let’s say a scooter rider is transitioning from the street to a sidewalk or driveway. The scooter’s front wheel first has to make it over the lip of the sidewalk’s curb cut, or the lip of a driveway’s apron. If the front scooter wheel’s axis of rotation (i.e., the center of the wheel) is lower than the obstacle it is trying to get over, then it will have difficulty getting over that obstacle. Many scooter rides are thrown off the scooter when the scooter hits the lip of a sidewalk curb cut or the lip of a driveway’s apron and the scooter can’t make it over.
  • Reason #2: Electric scooters often have solid tires, whereas bicycles have air-filled tires. By using solid tires, scooter companies have found that they save money because this eliminates the downtime caused by a flat tire or by vandals slashing the tires. Solid tires are much less forgiving on roadway or sidewalk imperfections than air-filled bicycle tires. A bicycle’s inflatable tires are filled with air, which is compressible, and thus allows for some “give” when going over a defect. A small rock or height differential that can be easily navigated over by a bicyclist, can cause an electric scooter rider to lose control and crash.
  • Reason #3: On an electric scooter, the handlebars and the front wheel are all on the same axis of rotation. Because the front wheel is almost directly in line with where the rider stands, it makes the scooter more prone to tipping over. In contrast, a bicycle has a longer wheel base. The front wheel of a bike is larger than a scooter’s and the wheel is further out in front of the rider. All of this makes bicycles more stable and more forgiving when a rider encounters roadway defects.
  • Reason #4: A person standing up on an e-scooter is harder to see than a person riding a bike. An automobile driver who is turning left or right at an intersection, and who sees an approaching figure in the driver’s peripheral vision, may "read" the approaching upright figure as a pedestrian, when in fact it’s a scooter rider. Accounting for a pedestrian’s slower speed, the motorist may incorrectly calculate that they have enough time to make the turn without hitting the approaching figure.
  • Reason #5: Most e-scooter operators who suffer injuries are new riders. Often, new riders will just download the scooter app onto their phones, unlock the scooter, and take off for a ride. These riders have no experience with electric scooters, and if they’ve had any training at all, it was watching a quick tutorial on the app about how to operate a scooter. They have no idea about how much balance is required or how unstable the scooters are. With bicycles, on the other hand, most people have ridden one before, and bicycles are much more stable.
  • Reason #6: When a person rents an electric scooter, they have no idea about its condition, its history, or how it has been used and abused. In contrast, bicycle owners know their bicycle's history because they have taken care of it.

Electric Scooter Injury Lawyers

At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we are committed to helping clients in Santa Monica who have been injured by electric scooters. If you have been injured in an electric scooter accident, consult with our legal team to discuss all of your legal options. We can help you pursue maximum compensation for your accident injuries.

Call (310) 692-9582 to set up your free consultation with our Santa Monica personal injury attorneys.

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