You’ve seen people ride them throughout the city, by the beach, on the sidewalks, on the streets, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Bird and Lime dockless scooters are making great waves in the transportation business — so much so that some cities, like Beverly Hills, have temporarily banned them while they sort out the legalities, specifics, and extent of this new app that’s become a great convenience to many. Other cities, however, have not banned them and allowed their users to ride the electric scooters with little supervision. Because of the lack of regulation, some users use sidewalks, bike lanes, streets, and just about every available surface area to take these to where they need to go. So what are the rules when it comes to riding Bird or Lime scooters out on the streets? We answer everything you need to know when it comes to riding these dockless scooters in Los Angeles.
How Do Bird and Lime Work?
Renting a scooter from Bird or Lime is simple. You merely download the app on your phone, input your credit card information, upload a photo of your driver’s license to verify your age and validity, and search for a scooter nearby. The app will show a map of scooters that are available and how much charge they have. You will be charged $1.00 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute to ride it.
Once you have finished, you can leave the scooter anywhere that is legal. It can then be rented by another individual passing by.
Where Can I Ride Bird or Lime Scooters?
If you’re in the Westside, the bike lane is where you’ll want to ride. Bike lanes keep you off the street and off the sidewalk. Many users opt for the sidewalk when there are no bike lanes in their cities, which is incredibly dangerous; we suggest you find another way to your destination. Bird and Lime scooters can reach quite the speed: 15 miles per hour. Using the sidewalk can be dangerous for pedestrians, who won’t be able to quickly move out of the way of the zipping scooters, and for you, especially if there are cars pulling out of their driveways or parking lots and don’t expect a scooter to speed by. You are not allowed to ride scooters on the beach path that is designated for pedestrians. You will likely get a hefty ticket if the police catch you.
In the absence of a bike lane, you can ride in the street, but as close to the sidewalk as possible.
Do I Have to Wear Protective Gear?
California law requires that electric scooter riders wear a helmet. This law is heavily enforced in Santa Monica, so don’t ride one if you aren’t wearing a helmet. Don’t own a helmet? Not to worry. If you register with Bird’s or Lime’s app, the company will send you a helmet for free!
Scooter and Moped Accidents Often Result in Serious Injuries
Other protective gear, such as knee pads, is optional.
What Makes Bird and Lime Scooters Unsafe?
The scooters are unsafe for a number of reasons. A few include:
- Poor Riding Habits: Riders may be underage, ride while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, ride on sidewalks, and ride at night in lowly lit areas. These tendencies cause dozens of accidents each week.
- Poor Safety Concerns: Too many riders opt to not wear helmets, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Other riders put someone else on the scooter behind them and ride tandem. Not only does this put undue weight on the scooter,, but it also makes it harder to control and maneuver.
- Scooter Defects: Some scooters may have electronics problems or the brakes may not work. This could come about from days of repeated use, or the vehicle was improperly manufactured and needs to be replaced. You should hold on to the scooter if there were a defect with it, as it will be key evidence in a product liability lawsuit.
- Visibility Issues: Those on scooters are not easily seen by other vehicles; as a result, cars may turn into them or suddenly stop when a scooter is nearby. Others have hit opening doors and have been backed into when cars pull out of spaces. To make matters worse, scooter riders are all but invisible at night if the vehicle has no lighting on it. The only light fixture may be a dim red light, which is not enough in certain areas.
Electric Scooter Laws
There are laws that must be adhered to when riding electric scooters. Bird and Lime have some of these rules printed on the scooters themselves, but a full list can be found in the app itself. The laws are as follows:
- Always wear a helmet
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Ride in bike lanes or in the street
- Park the scooter in legal spaces
- Control the scooter with at least one hand at all times
- Only ride solo
- Do not hitch the scooter to a motor vehicle
- Be over the age of 18
Naturally, most of these laws are ignored by riders and not punished by police officers to the extent that they could be. It is possible that there are so few punishments because of the widespread prevalence of rule breaking. You only have to look somewhere like the beach to see dozens of people zooming by without helmets, some of whom look as young as 13.
Steps to Take: Bird & Lime Scooter Accident
What Kind of Injuries Can I Get in a Scooter Accident?
Scooter accidents can be extremely debilitating, especially if you are struck by another vehicle. You could receive permanent damages if you are hit at a high rate of speed, namely due to the lack of protection you have while on a scooter. You only wear a helmet; passengers in cars, though, are in enclosed spaces with numerous cushions, airbags, and seat belts to protect them.
You may be injured in the following ways:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Knee and hip injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Torn muscles
- Permanent scarring
- Severed limbs
If you were the victim of a scooter accident, it is important that you contact an attorney who can help litigate your case for you. You may be able to target the responsible driver or even Bird or Lime depending on the circumstances.
What Evidence Do I Need to File a Lawsuit against Bird or Lime?
If you were in a Bird or Lime scooter accident, you should keep the scooter if you can to preserve the most important piece of evidence. The types of damages to the scooter can help give credence to your claim and the angle at which you were hit, or if there were any defects with the vehicle. If you cannot keep the scooter, photograph or record it.
You should also take as many pictures as you can of your injuries, the other vehicle, and the scene of the accident. In addition to photos, you can have video evidence of eyewitness statements if any bystanders saw the incident unfold.
Your injuries should have been evaluated by paramedics or a doctor at a hospital. The ensuing bills from treatment and other costs should be included in the evidence package. Be careful, though – if you wait too long between getting treatment and the accident, the insurance agent can claim that you were not badly hurt or that you were injured elsewhere. The sooner you get evaluated, the better it is for your claim.
You can take a screenshot of the ride information and print out receipts showing that you paid for the scooter. This will help show that you were legally renting the vehicle at the time of the incident.
What Can I Earn in a Scooter Lawsuit?
A Bird or Lime scooter lawsuit can net you various kinds of compensation from the responsible party. You may be able to earn the following:
- Coverage of medical expenses and future medical treatments
- Lost wages from missed days of work and future absent days
- Property damage for anything you own that was broken or lost in the incident
- Pain and suffering damages for psychological or emotional traumas you sustained in the accident
Bird Scooter Injury Accidents
Downtown LA Law Group’s Promise
Our team of expert attorneys at the Downtown LA Law Group
in Los Angeles, California, have handled Bird and Lime scooter accidents since the vehicles hit the streets. We have recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients and know the best tactics to securing you the compensation you deserve. We will aggressively negotiate with the insurance agent and will relentlessly work to ensure your rights as a victim are preserved.
Call us for a free legal consultation. If you have questions about scooter accidents and lawsuits, we’ll gladly answer them. You should not be unaware of how the legal process works. Our consultations are private and we revel nothing to anyone about what we discussed. We will also give you our zero fee guarantee – we don’t get paid unless and until we win. If we lose, you won’t have to pay us anything at all.
To get started on your electric scooter injury lawsuit, reach out to our expert attorneys at the Downtown LA Law Group today.