By John L. McCraw, III, a Bicycle Accident attorney with the McCraw Law Group.
A large influx of two-wheel electric scooters into the Austin metropolitan area has created a wealth of novel questions, as well as making people aware of the inconsistency of bicycle and sidewalk laws in the city. With the influx unlikely to subside, city officials must determine the best way to manage this mobility development.
Electric scooters are becoming ubiquitous, thanks to the work of companies like LimeBike and Bird, who have delivered batches of the powered bikes to cities across the country with little to no approval and to the consternation of lawmakers in those states.
Many of the problems arising from these scooters relate to the use of the scooters on sidewalks and the ability of scooter users to use designated bicycle paths. The resulting interaction between pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles is always challenging, especially when the scooter’s driver has no real experience on the bike and can lead to serious injuries.
Austin lawmakers are grappling with these scooters and attempting to apply laws that are not designed for them. This leads to inconsistent application and creates questions about what scooter riders can and cannot do. When coupled with the fact that many law enforcement officials believe that enforcement of restrictions on scooters is unlikely to happen on a regular basis, bike riders and pedestrians injured by accidents with these scooters will face a tangled web of laws as they attempt to seek compensation for injuries or damage.
If you are involved in a crash with one of these new electric scooters, do the following:
1) Document the specific location of the accident and the conditions under which the accident occurred;
2) Obtain the name of the company that owns the scooter in question;
3) Obtain the name and contact information of the scooter rider, and any insurance information, if available; and,
4) Take pictures of the scene for future reference.
If there are injuries, contact first responders to have those injuries treated and allow a police officer to put together a crash report. Crash reports are not always necessary, but when injuries result, it can be very helpful to have for reference in any future discussions. As always, if you are injured or your property suffers damage, engaging experienced counsel to guide you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you are made as whole as possible from a damages standpoint.