The number of people riding electric scooters in South Florida has increased in recent years. Lime and electric scooter rentals have become increasingly prevalent in Miami and popular tourist destinations like Key West. They provide an easy and fun way to cruise the beaches and sightsee. They have also become an affordable and economical choice for Miami-area commuters.
As part of a six-month trial program, six scooter companies are adding the first of 300 ‘dockless’ rental scooters in Miami’s District 2. The district includes downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, Morningside and Edgewater. The companies taking part in the program are Bird, Bolt, Jump, Lime, Lyft and Spin.
Although these companies promote their electric scooters as ‘fun and easy to operate,’ they pose many risks to riders and those sharing the road with them. Even if the proper safety precautions are taken, accidents can still happen.
In Miami, it is legal to ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk or in a bike lane (when available). You must be 18 years or older to ride. It is illegal to ride on the yellow lines in between lanes of traffic, to pass other vehicles. Florida law does not require operators of a scooter to wear a helmet.
Miami motor vehicle laws apply to electric scooters. This means you must stop at red lights and stop signs, drive in the same direction as traffic and always yield to pedestrians.
Common Causes of Electric Scooter Accidents
One major disadvantage a scooter rider has when sharing the road with other vehicles, is their lack of visibility. They can be difficult to spot, and drivers are not always looking for them or paying attention to the road. Some of the most common causes of scooter accidents we see that are caused by motorists include:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Driver cutting in front of the scooter
- Scooter rider hit by an opening car door
- Driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol
It is estimated that at least 35 scooter injures involving individuals between the ages of 14 and 62 occurred in February 2019 in the Fort Lauderdale area alone. Most were taken to the hospital in an ambulance. At least four of these people suffered a “Level One” trauma injury.
A recent UCLA study confirmed an increase in scooter-related injuries. Doctors examined 249 people who were all involved in scooter accidents, 40 percent of them sustained head injuries. Only 4 percent of the people injured were wearing a helmet. The most common injuries we see as attorneys who represent injured scooter riders are:
- Serious head injuries, including brain bleeds, concussions and TBI’s;
- Broken bones
- Cuts and scrapes
Given the fact that scooters provide little to no protection to the outside elements, injuries sustained in these accidents can oftentimes be serious to life-threatening. It is important that if you are involved in a scooter-related accident, that you seek immediate medical attention.
Determining liability in your scooter accident will come down to who caused your injuries and the accident itself. Multiple parties can be held liable in these cases.
- The driver who hit you.
- The owner of the property where the accident occurred. For example, was there construction, a dangerous side walk condition, or other dangerous road condition that caused your accident?
- The scooter rental company.
Statute of Limitations to File a Claim in the State of Florida
A person has four years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim involving a scooter accident in the State of Florida. However, it is important to not wait. Important evidence critical to your case can disappear with time. Our legal team acts quickly to protect you and your family’s legal rights, gathering important evidence, witness and expert testimony, surveillance footage, police reports, etc.
Because injuries resulting from electric scooter accidents can be serious and even fatal, it is important to consult with an experienced board certified personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected. Depending on the nature of the accident, you could be entitled to damages related to medical bills, ongoing medical treatment, lost wages, future loss of income, and pain and suffering.
The personal injury attorneys at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers are here to protect your rights and ensure you receive compensation for your injuries after an electric scooter accident. If you or a loved one have suffered injury or death in a scooter-related accident, call our office toll free at 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email at [email protected]. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.