Cities across the country, including Charlotte, NC, are struggling with how to deal with the growing use of electric scooters. Quite often, new technology means new laws and new city ordinances. There is much unsettled law around electric scooters at the moment. As the claims for damages increase throughout the state of North Carolina, we will gain a better understanding of where the “rubber meets the road” when it comes to electric scooters.
Scooters Are Treated Like Bicycles
In a recent article published in the Charlotte Observer (Electric Scooters May Be Cool, But…), Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari indicated that for now, scooter users are treated like cyclists. This means that scooters are permitted to be used on the road and on sidewalks. It also means that if the user is over 16 years of age, they can choose not to wear a helmet.
This also means that when it comes to registering scooters, it’s unnecessary. Compare this to golf carts and mopeds, which must be inspected and registered before hitting the roads in Charlotte, NC. Mopeds even require a vehicle inspection and insurance to operate. Scooters do not.
Scooters Are Making Headlines
A recent CNN article Doctor: Do Something About The Dangers of e-Scooters, appeared online. The article gave rise to many questions surrounding the injuries resulting from the use of electric scooters, and indicated emergency rooms are seeing an increase in scooter injuries.
Scooter Related Personal Injury Claims
Electric scooters are giving rise to more accidents on the roadways. This is partly because drivers are not aware that an individual is operating a scooter. Specifically, a scooter operator may look like a pedestrian; however, with the ability to accelerate quickly, the car and electric scooter may collide in a situation where a pedestrian and car would not. For instance, when an electric scooter operator accelerates off of a street corner after waiting for a light to turn or an opportunity to cross the road.
Where the accident is the fault of the vehicle driver, the electric scooter operator will have a personal injury claim against the vehicle driver. However, where the electric scooter operator is to blame, there may not be insurance available. Most insurance companies are taking a hard stance against insuring electric scooter operators. Your vehicle insurance won’t cover your use of an electric scooter. Without the purchase of a policy or coverage specific to electric scooter use, you may not have any insurance available to pay someone you harm.
Looking to the electric scooter company for insurance coverage does not lead to good results. When you pay for and operate an electric scooter, you typically release the scooter company from all harm, and assume the risk of operating the scooter—it’s all in the fine print.
Here’s how many cities have reacted to the use of electric scooters:
Washington, D.C. – Issued a cease and desist letter and told electric scoote companies they are not welcome in the city
Nashville, TN—Seized scooters which were blocking a right of way
San Diego, CA—Ticketed electric scooter operators who were not wearing a helmet
Speak With An Electric Scooter Attorney
Speak With An Attorney
While it’s an odd thing to type, understanding “Scooter Law” is the obligation of personal injury attorneys. If you’ve been injured in a scooter related accident, speak with an attorney by calling 704.749.7747 or clicking here for a FREE CONSULTATION. We’re happy to discuss your claim and help you understand your options.