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E-Scooters Are A Sidewalk Tripping Hazard to Elderly Pedestrians

Electric Scooters parked on sidewalk in Santa Monica

Our personal injury law firm has experienced a dramatic increase in calls made on behalf of senior citizens who were injured as the result of a trip and fall on an electric scooter on the sidewalk. Our clients have been injured after tripping over Bird scooters, Lyft scooters and Spin scooters.

Senior Citizens are More Vulnerable to the E-Scooter Tripping Hazard Danger

Elderly pedestrians are less agile and have a slower reaction time. If a senior citizen loses their balance, they are less likely to regain their balance without falling than a non-senior.

Injuries Suffered by Elderly Pedestrians who Trip on Electric Scooters

When a senior citizen suffers a trip and fall, the injuries can be serious. Injuries to elderly accident victims are of particular concern. A senior’s bones are more brittle. Their bones are more likely to break as the result of a fall. Hospitalization and surgery are often required. Hardware (pins and plates) may need to be installed to repair the broken bones. Additionally, an elderly person is slower to recuperate from injuries than a younger person.

The most common injuries suffered by seniors who trip on e-scooters are:

  • Fractured hip
  • Fractured pelvis
  • Fractured wrist
  • Fractured hand
  • Fractured arm

Why are Electric Scooters Parked on the Sidewalk a Tripping Hazard?

Several factors make e-scooters parked on the sidewalk a tripping hazard. These factors include:

  • Scooter is tipped over. Cities require of e-scooter companies that their scooters have technology identifying that a scooter is upright when parked. If a scooter is tipped over, it is the responsibility of the scooter company to upright it. The issue in a case involving a trip and fall on a tipped-over scooter will be: how long was the scooter laying down? Was it laying down long enough that the scooter company should have known that it was tipped over and should have picked it up?
  • Scooter is improperly parked. Scooters are often improperly or even illegally parked by riders or deployed by the scooter company workers. The scooters may be illegally parked in a passenger loading and unloading zone, or illegally parked next to a bus stop, or disabled parking zone, or next to a corner pedestrian ramp. Cities require of e-scooter companies that their scooters have technology identifying that a scooter is properly parked. Cities make scooter companies responsible for ensuring that the scooters are not parked in a way that impedes the regular flow of travel in the public right of way.
  • Scooter is hard to see at night. When the scooters are locked, there is no light on them. There is reflective tape on the sides of the scooter, but unless that reflective tape is lit up by a motor vehicle’s headlights, a pedestrian may not see that scooter at night. An issue will be: what was the street lighting like at that location at the time of the fall? Additionally, if the scooter is all black, like Bird scooters, the scooter is even harder to see. A common call we receive is from seniors who trip on the back wheel of a Bird scooter that was jutting out into the middle of a sidewalk.
  • Scooter’s baseboard is low to the ground thus hard to see.

How Could the E-Scooter Tripping Hazard be Mitigated?

  • Some cities are installing in-street e-device parking corrals: paint and bollards are used to designate an area where electric scooters and electric bikes should be parked. Putting the corral in the street, as opposed to on the sidewalk, makes the scooters less likely to be a tripping hazard for pedestrians.

Electric scooters parked on street in designated spot

  • Scooter companies could install a docking station, which would prevent the scooters from being parked in the middle of the sidewalk.

Two men walking their scooters to a dock charging station

  • Parked scooters could have lights that turn on at night, making the scooters more visible.
  • Scooters that are tipped over could emit a warning sound, which would alert approaching pedestrians.
  • Scooter companies could fine a rider who improperly parks a scooter. Holding riders accountable would incentive the riders to properly park the scooters.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injury as the result of tripping on an electric scooter, whether it was a Bird, Lime, Jump, Lyft or Spin scooter, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. The attorneys at McGee, Lerer and Associates are at the forefront of holding scooter companies accountable for the injuries they are causing, particularly to innocent pedestrians. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation.

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