From Clayton Hasbrook, an Oklahoma motor vehicle accident attorney with the law firm of Hasbrook & Hasbrook.
Oklahoma City experienced a “stork drop” in early August: 50 Bird electric scooters were delivered to the city’s downtown area as part of what the company is calling a “pilot program”. The scooters quickly became a target of opponents, who asserted that pedestrians were becoming targets of the scooters.
A little background: Bird is one of several companies working to provide alternate forms of so-called “last-mile” transportation. Bird and its competitors have focused on the electric scooter as the product. The scooters can be rented and paid for via smartphone, and riders simply drop the scooter in a public space once they are done. No responsibility for docking in a specific place or plugging into a charger.
However, these scooters have created several problems: first, they have been installed in cities without prior approval. Second, there are, for the most part, no real rules governing the use of those scooters. Finally, the scooters are often used on sidewalks, putting pedestrians in a situation where they are sharing space with motorized vehicles – exactly what sidewalks were designed to avoid.
Anytime you have a motorized vehicle in close proximity to a pedestrian, you create the possibility that the two collide and cause injuries. When a car or truck strikes a pedestrian, the driver’s auto insurance will cover expenses related to injuries and damage to property if the driver is at fault.
But what about electric scooters? They do not require a driver’s license to operate, nor is there any requirement that an operator have liability insurance, so any accident resulting from the collision of a scooter and a pedestrian will not have the large monetary pool to accompany costs that motorists do.
With these vehicles operating on sidewalks with pedestrians, there is a possibility that one will strike and injure a pedestrian, or that a pedestrian will be injured trying to get out of the way of a scooter – even to the extent of jumping into traffic. When injuries occur involving these scooters, individuals will need experienced representation to help identify the parties that could be liable and the assets and resources that may be available to pay for damages. Injury due to the negligence of an electric scooter operator should not immediately be written off because of the complexities of responsibility and the vague status of the law.
Oklahoma personal injury attorney Clayton Hasbrook has experience in cases ranging from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter.