A new day, a new rideshare, a new challenge. Dockless electric scooters popped up around Miami without warning this April. The scooters, placed around the city by Lime and later by Bird, are the latest in rideshare tech. The electric scooters can be picked up from wherever they are by commuters who have signed up on the respective apps; all they have to do is scan the barcode on the scooter, ride, and pay.
More on scooter accidents
At least, that’s all you had to do – the scooters have all been removed as of June 21st. Miami-Dade issued the two companies a cease and desist order after the scooters were found in violation of multiple Florida Statutes. The county is specifically concerned with the scooters obstructing public walkways and making it more difficult for people to maneuver sidewalks, thereby leading to accidents and injuries. This is a concern when the vehicles are left randomly around the city, but also when ridden on sidewalks where they endanger pedestrians. The scooters can reach up to 15 miles per hour, making them too slow for the road and too fast for sidewalks, which are meant to be pedestrian-only. The police also expressed concern over the new transit option as they’re worried about citations and how to regulate the scooters under existing laws.
One of the biggest fears for everyone: accidents and injuries. There are many types of accidents that can happen with the new scooters; riders can be injured and injure others as they ride through the city. The first concern for injury is that riders can get injured while commuting. While Bird has been clear that passengers are told to wear a helmet before riding, there is no check in place. If a rider falls and is injured, there are currently no laws in place to cover who is liable.
Establishing who is at fault in the case of a rideshare scooter accident will depend almost entirely on the cause of the accident and effective notifications from the company to the riders regarding safe practices. Using the helmet example, if a rider doesn’t own a helmet, isn’t provided with a helmet, and has no knowledge that they need one, then the onus is on the company. On the other hand, if helmets are provided and riders are reminded to wear them each time they book a ride, the onus may be on the rider.
Another issue is if a rider causes an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian. What happens if the rider doesn’t have insurance? In this situation, the companies distributing the scooters may also face exposure to a personal injury lawsuit. They provided vehicles to people without necessarily checking their driving history, without making sure they know the rules of the road for scooters, and arguably without working with the city to prevent transit hazards.
There’s no question: if the scooters are used there will be an accident. Who would be responsible for that accident, is as uncertain as ever. The temporary removal of the scooters will give Miami-Dade County a bit of time to create legislation, but how long they can keep the scooters out if the city is questionable.
If you or someone you know have been injured in an accident involving a rideshare bike or scooter, Aigen Law Firm, is here to assist you. Please do not hesitate to submit an online FREE CASE REVIEW. At Aigen Law Firm, an experienced lawyer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week working on behalf of victims who suffer injuries or death from all types of accidents. We offer a free consultation for your personal injury case and there is no fee unless we recover for you.