Understanding the Dangers of Electric Scooters in Texas Cities
Electric scooters have started to show up on the city streets of Texas. Scooter companies such as Bird, Lime, and Blue Duck have flooded the streets of San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin, and El Paso with electric scooters that are available for quick rentals to get around.
While they are a convenient and fun way to maneuver around the city, they’ve also become a hazard, posing a threat to motorists, pedestrians, and the riders themselves. In turn, these electric scooter rentals have also raised questions of liability, regulation, and traffic laws throughout the state. This is a new and untested method of city transportation that is causing challenges for the system in a number of ways. Here, we will be discussing the dangers of electric scooters in Texas and some of the ensuing complications.
Texas Regulations for Electric Scooters
Many believe that because electric scooters have a maximum speed of about 15 miles per hour, they are low-risk with few dangers attached. However, there have been countless injuries and several deaths associated with electric scooters within the relatively short period of time that they have been widely available on the market.
Because of this, local governments and the Texas Transportation Code have started to regulate the use of electric scooters in Texas. Some of the regulations are:
- Electric scooter riders must wear a helmet if they are under the age of 18.
- Electric scooters can only be used on roads with speed limits under 35 miles per hour.
- Most cities in Texas forbid electric scooter riders to use sidewalks, although many users ignore this rule causing problems with pedestrians.
- Unless making a left-hand turn, electric scooter riders must stay as close as possible to the right side of the road.
If you plan on renting an electric scooter in your city, you should check with your local government to see what their regulations are and make sure that you are not in violation of any of the laws, which could potentially place yourself and others at greater risk for accident or injury.
Dangers of Electric Scooters
Electric scooters in Texas have numerous risks and dangers, not only for the riders but also to other motorists and pedestrians. Some of the dangers of electric scooters include:
- Electric scooters are hard to see on the road because of their small size, basically like a much smaller motorcycle, which are already prone to accidents.
- Riders of electric scooters don’t have any protection during a collision, often not even a helmet. Not wearing a helmet can lead to serious traumatic brain injuries.
- Electric scooter riders may often be inexperienced since they are short rentals available to anyone with an app. They are not stable vehicles and with an inexperienced rider on board, one may easily lose their balance.
- Many riders participate in high-risk behavior such as riding on a sidewalk, driving a scooter while drunk, etc. Riding on a sidewalk often leads to crashes with pedestrians who aren’t expecting fast-moving scooters.
- Accidents caused by common road hazards such as potholes, gravel, debris, uneven sidewalks, etc.
Misuse of Electric Scooters in Texas
In addition to the inherent dangers associated with an electric scooter, many people misuse the scooters in various ways. The most common misuses of an electric scooter are:
- Allowing children to ride them.
- Riding without a helmet.
- Riding fast on the sidewalk among pedestrians.
- Electric scooters being left in the middle of sidewalks or side of the streets.
- More than one person riding the scooter.
- Parked electric scooters blocking the entrances to buildings or handicap access ramps.
- Using electric scooters after a night out at the bar or after happy hour, leading to reckless or imprudent driving.
Malfunctioning and Defective Electric Scooters in Texas
There have also been instances when injuries have been caused while riding an electric scooter in Texas because of a malfunctioning or defective scooter. Some of the problems that have been reported include:
- Brake Issues
- Tire Issues
- Stem or Handlebar Malfunctions
- Throttle Malfunctions
Companies like Lime and Bird rely on the rider to report any defects or malfunctions. As expected, many people don’t report any issues that they have caused, which puts the rider who rents the scooter next in danger of serious injuries.
Some Common Accidents with Electric Scooters in Texas
Since Lime, Bird, and Blue Duck electric scooters are quite popular in multiple Texas cities, there has been an increase in injuries from electric scooter accidents.
Some of the most common types of electric scooter accidents in Texas include:
- Defective Electric Scooters. A number of accidents have been reported in Texas due to a defective or malfunctioning electric scooter. Obviously, given the heavy wear and tear and consumer abuse, it is not unheard of that these devices may malfunction. The current business model requires that users report any defects or problems with the scooters. However many riders avoid doing so if they caused the damage, leaving it there for someone else to rent.
- Being Chased by a Dog. Some dogs have high prey drives and have been known to chase someone on an electric scooter, causing the rider serious injury either directly caused by the dog or simply by trying to evade the animal.
- Avoiding Other Objects. Many electric scooter accidents in Texas are due to the rider having to suddenly avoid pedestrians, automobiles, other scooters, and/or a bicyclist.
- Pedestrians. In far too many cases, pedestrians have been hit by an electric scooter or have tripped on a scooter parked dangerously on a sidewalk.
- Other Motorists. Sometimes another motor vehicle will swerve to miss something and hit a scooter. The scooter could simply not be noticed in time or is driving in an unexpected way (such as splitting lanes or passing imprudently). In other cases, riders have run into open car doors, a turning vehicle, or a vehicle that is backing up.
Common Injuries Associated with Electric Scooters in Texas
Electric scooters operate at a top speed of approximately 15 miles per hour. Some people may not realize that even at that speed, severe injuries can and do occur if the rider hits someone, something, or is hit by a motor vehicle.
The main contributing factor to many electric scooter accidents in Texas is that drivers of scooters are not required to wear a helmet. Trauma surgeons in Texas and elsewhere throughout the country are seeing injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal and neck injuries
- Bone fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts and lacerations
- Facial injuries
Damages in an Electric Scooter Accident in Texas
If you’ve been injured by an electric scooter due to the negligence of someone else, then you may be able to recover damages that may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Future and ongoing medical and/or personal care
- Loss of income
- Loss of household services
- Loss of support, guidance, and companionship
If you’ve been in an accident involving an electric scooter rental, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and options. They can help you recover the damages you have suffered due to the negligence of others, including pain and suffering.
The legal team at Fears Nachawati is standing by, here to help, and ready to hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact our experienced team today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Please call (866) 705-7584 or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.