The evidence is irrefutable: according to emergency room doctors, head injuries are the most common injuries suffered by e-scooter riders. The same conclusion was reached in a study by the Centers for Disease Control (released in April 2019) and a study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open (released in January 2019).
Head injuries are also the most common injuries suffered by electric scooter riders that our law firm sees.
McGee Lerer & Associates, a scooter accident law firm in Santa Monica, is a strong advocate for mandatory helmet use by e-scooter riders. If we could change one thing, just one thing, to protect scooter riders, it would be to require helmet use. It is not enough for scooter companies to “encourage” helmet use, or to offer free helmets, upon request, which will be sent to the individual, or to offer riders a discount if they take a selfie showing themselves wearing a helmet. The simple fact is: if a helmet isn’t there when a rider is ready to ride, the rider won’t wear a helmet.
Our attorneys have lobbied in California at the state and local levels for laws requiring helmet use.
We have Bird scooter company to thank for the fact that there is no helmet law for adults in California. Until December 31, 2018, California law required adult scooter riders to wear helmets. But then Bird sponsored a bill, which was signed into law, that removed the helmet requirement for adults. Now, only minors who ride electric scooters are required to wear helmets. Minors means those under 18-years-old. That means that the helmet requirement applies to a very narrow sliver of riders, since California law requires electric scooter riders to be 16.
Our attorneys believe that in years from now, IF electric scooters are still around, there WILL BE a helmet requirement, just like cars are required to have seatbelts, and cities and states will regret that they did not act sooner to protect riders.
It is important to emphasize that along with a helmet requirement, there must be enforcement of a helmet requirement. If riders who violate scooter laws are not ticketed, they have no incentive to comply with the law.
The electric bike share company Wheels recently announced that they will be integrating free shareable helmets into their e-bikes. The helmets will be locked onto the bike’s rear fenders, and will have disposable liners.
E-scooter companies can and should be integrating shareable helmets onto their scooters. If they really care about the safety of their riders, it will happen.