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Yet Another E-Scooter Risk: Bald Tires with No Traction

scooter wheel

If you hop on an electric scooter with bald tires, you could be headed for a crash. Just like car tires, e-scooter tires have ridges to increase traction on city streets. Or, they should. Also just like car tires, e-scooter tires wear down thanks to the bumps and potholes of our Santa Monica streets. In the summer months, bald tires were less of a hazard—though tire defects can cause accidents no matter the season or weather—but now that we’re entering the rainy season, riders may find themselves losing control of their e-scooters.

The average Santa Monica Bird e-scooter travels 7.5 miles a day. Collectively, the fleet has traveled over a million miles in Santa Monica alone. When you add in Lime, Jump, and Lyft models, the numbers show good news for e-scooter companies, but potentially bad news for riders. E-scooters do depreciate, whether from normal wear and tear or intentional vandalism, but the companies behind this new trend outsource the upkeep to locals who want to earn a few extra bucks. Without standardized oversight procedures, riders are often the ones to discover damages, sometimes after they’ve suffered the consequences.

How Much Supervision Should E-Scooter Companies Be Responsible For?

E-scooter providers may have processes for reporting damaged or beat-down units, but they, not the rider, must assign damaged status to a scooter before it’s de-activated and taken off the app. That means another rider may drive it away before the company has completed its review. In the case of a Portland investigation that took place after wet, fallen leaves interfered with the e-scooter’s braking system, the company may decide that the scooter isn’t “damaged” enough to merit repair—even if its tires clearly can’t keep up with weather hazards.

After all, the companies are the ones who have to pay local e-scooter techs for parts and labor. Unless they find it more expensive to deal with the fallout of crashes caused by e-scooters in ill repair, they’re likely to keep some scooters in service when they shouldn’t.

Practice E-Scooter Safety in Winter Months

Because e-scooter companies may not take tire quality reports seriously, riders may have to take extra steps to ensure their safety on wet or leaf-littered streets. Before you hop on a scooter, check both the weather and the machine to see if conditions are dangerous.

  • Inspect the scooter wheels before starting your ride
  • If you see a scooter with bald tires, immediately notify the scooter company
  • Do not ride in the rain
  • Avoid slick surfaces like wet cobbles or tiles
  • Avoid riding over roadway paint
  • Avoid metal surfaces
  • Avoid fallen leaves
  • Allow yourself extra stopping distance in bad weather

These tips won’t provide complete protection against the dangers of e-scooters with bald wheels, but they will help you minimize your chances of getting hurt in a preventable accident.

Don’t Let E-Scooter Companies Get Away with Poor Maintenance

Whether you’re riding a Bird, Lime, Lyft or Jump scooter, as we head into the rainy season, riders should be especially careful. Do not trust that the scooter you pick up on the corner is in full operating condition just because it hasn’t been de-activated and marked as damaged. Bald tires are a known hazard, especially on slick streets, but one need only walk around Santa Monica to see that subpar tires are commonplace.

If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident, call the attorneys at McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free consultation. We’ll be straight with you and tell you whether you have a case worth pursuing. Scooter injuries can be very expensive. Why should you have to foot the bill?

Contact us online or call (310) 692-9582 to speak to our attorneys today.

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