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Electric Scooter Rider Killed in Santa Monica

Electric scooter in a parking lot

An electric scooter rider in Santa Monica was struck and killed on Friday night by a hit and run driver. The accident took place in the 2700 block of 3rd St., between Hill St. and Ashland Ave. at about 8:30 p.m. The victim, a 41-year-old man, was riding a personally-owned electric scooter called a “City Hopper,” made by the company Bike Rassine.

According to the Santa Monica Police Department, the victim fell onto the road and was struck by a hit and run driver who was southbound on 3rd St. The driver of the vehicle apparently exited his vehicle but fled before emergency responders arrived.

The victim was transported to a local hospital for significant head and body trauma, he was not wearing a helmet. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police described the hit and run vehicle as a tan or off-white older sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry. The car is believed to have sustained damage to the front passenger side.

The driver was a 6’2” white male with medium build, approximately in his 30s. He was wearing prescription glasses and had a shaved head or short hair.

This is the 1st fatal accident in Santa Monica involving an electric scooter rider, which first arrived in Santa Monica in September 2017. Shortly thereafter, our Santa Monica personal injury law firm started getting calls from electric scooter accident victims, both riders and pedestrians. Read about some of the electric scooter accident stories here. [Warning: graphic injury photos.]

The Electric Scooter Head Injury Problem

A UCLA study published in the JAMA medical journal in January 2019 examined injuries suffered by e-scooter riders who were treated at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center over a one-year period. The study found that over 40% of patients had head injuries, and only 4.4% were wearing helmets.

Until January 1, 2019, California law required all electric scooter riders wear a helmet. Bird, however, sponsored a bill that was signed into law which removed the helmet requirement for adults. California Vehicle Code Section 21235 states the operator of a motorized scooter shall not “[o]perate a motorized scooter without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards described in Section 21212 if the operator is under 18 years of age.”

Despite this change in the helmet-requirement state-wide, nothing prevents local authorities from enacting a helmet requirement for adults. California Vehicle Code Section 21225 states: “This article does not prevent a local authority, by ordinance, from regulating the registration of motorized scooters and the parking and operation of motorized scooters on pedestrian or bicycle facilities and local streets and highways, if that regulation is not in conflict with this code.”

To combat this problem, the City of Santa Monica should enact a helmet requirement for adults as it would not conflict with the Vehicle Code, which is silent as to adults and only addresses helmet use by minors.

Contact Our Experienced Santa Monica Personal Injury Attorneys Today

At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we strongly believe helmet use is the #1 most important precaution e-scooter riders can take to protect themselves. We encourage you to voice your opinion to the Santa Monica City Council and demand they institute a helmet requirement for adult electric scooter riders to prevent tragedies such as this one from ever happening again. However, if you find yourself a victim of a scooter accident, there is no time to waste. Enlist the services of a Santa Monica personal injury lawyer you can trust, such as ours.

If you are a victim of another’s negligence in a motor vehicle, bike, or scooter accident, please don’t hesitate to contact us today by calling (310) 692-9582.

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