Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters, have taken the metropolitan cities across the U.S. by storm. They are already a smashing success in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and other areas. And now, these scooters have launched in Tampa as a pilot project.
One of the reasons why e-scooters are so successful is the sheer convenience they offer. You can pick up a scooter by scanning a code, drive it around, and drop it anywhere once you are done. This makes them ideal for trips that are too long for walking but too small for driving. The novel ride-sharing idea is already a billion dollar industry, turning companies like Bird into overnight successes.
E-scooters come with their set of risks and liabilities. As with any drivable machine, scooters can cause accidents. People using scooters may accidentally drive into the traffic, hit the pedestrians, or simply lose balance on an uneven patch. This is why it is important to consider the risks, precautions, and legal implications of e-scooter rides.
Precautions for Tampa Residents
Now that scooters have arrived in Tampa, it is time to review some useful precautions. Tampa residents would do well to take appropriate measures in order to stay safe. It’s great to enjoy a ride on a Bird or Spin scooter. But it is equally important to make sure you don’t hurt yourself or someone else when doing so.
Here is a quick rundown of some safety tips and precautions for Tampa scooter riders.
Park Safely: One of the most common causes of scooter-related accidents is careless parking. People literally toss the scooter aside, throw it on the road or simply block a sidewalk by parking it wrong. This puts the scooter in other’s way, making it a possible cause for accidents. Make sure you park the scooter safely once you have reached your destination.
Wear Safety Equipment: Safety equipment protects the exposed parts of your body in the event you tip over or run into someone. A safety helmet is a must-have, and you may want to wear elbow and knee straps to avoid the common scrapes and bruises.
Maintain Focus: It’s easy to lose focus when you are plugged into music, a common practice with scooters. You need to stay in the moment to keep track of the traffic, the walkers, and the path. If you lose focus, you risk running into a walker or worse still, driving into the middle of the traffic.
Choose a safe route: Stay clear of slippery patches, snow, and deep mud. Given the nimble profile of a scooter, it is easy to choose and use alternate routes. Make sure you use a route that is safe and clear of any debris that might endanger your ride.
Electric Scooters and Personal Injury Law in Tampa Bay
Accidents caused by e-scooters fall under personal injury law in Tampa Bay, Florida. According to a study by the Public Health and Transportation departments in Austin, Texas, there are 20 injuries on average for every 100,000 e-scooter trips. This is an alarmingly high number.
Launched only recently, Tampa residents have already started witnessing injuries caused by e-scooters. In one of these accidents, an e-scooter rider has been hit by a semi-trailer truck and seriously injured. This has created alarm regarding the safety of e-scooters as a viable travel option.
With such incidents in view, it makes sense why so many lawsuits related to e-scooter incidents are popping up across the nation. In one of these cases, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Bird and Lime, two major scooter manufacturers.
We can expect more of these lawsuits, in Tampa as well as across other cities. Claims related to e-scooter accidents are typically filed against riders, manufacturers, city authorities, and other stakeholders.
For instance, if you are hit by a scooter rider, you can file a personal injury claim against the rider. If you were riding an e-scooter and it malfunctioned, causing you an injury, you are entitled to file a claim against the manufacturer. If a scooter rider tipped over due to unwarranted obstacles by a construction company, the rider could sue the company.
Legal Implications of E-Scooter Injuries
It is important to understand the legal implications of scooter-related injuries. If you somehow cause such an injury, you may have to face a claim from the injured party. On the other hand, if you are the victim, you have the right to seek damages and compensation from the party which caused the accident.
E-scooters are still relatively new in Tampa Bay. As with other cities, we may expect the regulations governing them to evolve over time. In any case, let us hope that better laws will prevail to make these rides a safer option for the city residents.
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