Electric scooters have become a popular way of getting around, and since more US cities have made them available, hospitals have reported a rise in injuries caused by dockless scooters. According to the CDC, between September and November of 2018, a total of 200 people were injured while riding. The study also found that almost half of the injuries were head injuries and 15% were traumatic and at least 84% of the reported injuries were described as "severe". These injuries could've been avoided by wearing a helmet, however, only one person out of 190 riders actually wore one. Given this information, it's important as a rider and driver to keep a few safety tips in mind.
Follow Traffic Rules
If you are riding a dockless scooter in a busy city, you need to keep in mind that pedestrian rules don't apply to you. According to Bird's website, you need to follow basic traffic rules. This includes, stopping at stop signs, and avoiding riding on the sidewalk. You also need to follow traffic lights as if you were a car, and use caution at crosswalks. Most of these scooter accidents happen in intersections, this is due to distracted drivers and scooter riders who don't follow the traffic laws. Even if cars try to give you the right away, if you speed by while they are making a sharp turn, the results can be detrimental.
Lower Speed When Scooting Through Intersections
Reducing the speed limit is one of the best ways to avoid crashing especially if you are crossing the street. Just recently, several cities including San Diego have lowered the speed limit for dockless scooters to 8mph in some areas. This was decided after several residents were seriously injured while riding around town. Local injury attorneys say, they have even seen an influx of clients seeking to file lawsuits for their injuries. It can be difficult to sue a scooter company due to the user agreement you sign before riding one, if you read the fine print, the rider is liable for any type of damage or injuries that happen while riding the scooter. To learn more, read Bird's rental agreement.
No Drinking and ScootingSource
This should not come as a surprise that riding a scooter while intoxicated can raise your chances of getting into an accident. You can also be arrested for a DUI if you are caught drinking while riding your scooter. At least in cities like San Diego and Los Angeles, police officers can stop you if they believe you are under the influence. It's unclear how many dockless scooter accidents are caused by intoxication, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet will make a difference if you find yourself in a dockless scooter accident. However, not everyone carries a helmet around with them, which is why most riders do not wear one. In a busy city though, many riders use dockless scooters or bikes to get to work, and in these cases, you should try to wear a helmet as much as you can. According to the NHTSA, helmets are 90 percent effective in preventing head injuries.
Limit to One Rider at a Time
It may sound fun, or easier to ride a dockless scooter with two people, but if you are trying to avoid getting hurt, you might want to rethink this, especially in a busy city. Having two riders could block the vision of the driver and it could result in a crash, especially at night. The driver could also become distracted which can also be the cause of a serious accident.