Last August, Coral Gables became the first city in Florida to start a scooter-share program. Only a few months later, in October of 2018, Miami-Dade approved a one- year pilot program for electric scooter use in Miami downtown, Brickell, and Coconut Grove. The City of Fort Lauderdale also approved them in November 2018. Decision makers in these cities tout electric scooters as transportation that is both affordable and environmentally friendly.
LimeBike, Spin, and Bird are three of the scooter-sharing companies populating the South Florida landscape. Some of the companies had previously operated in Miami-Dade County but were forced to remove scooters last year when city attorneys claimed the scooters violated state statutes.
While electric scooters may help fill a gap for affordable transportation, it’s not without its downside. Complaints from pedestrians has skyrocketed in large urban areas where electric scooters seem to take over sidewalks. In areas that don’t have specialized scooter stands, scooters are left on sidewalks, on the grass, or near stores, negatively impacting the aesthetics. Even more concerning is that these scooters can become an obstacle for pedestrians, bike riders, and other scooter riders. Tripping over scooters is becoming all too common.
While there isn’t much information on the number of accidents or injuries caused by rental scooters yet, California is leading the way by standardizing the data collection.
There are several safety concerns related to potential injuries on scooters. Scooter wheels can get caught in uneven sidewalks. Wet weather can loosen the grip of the tires and potentially cause falls. In urban areas, it can be tricky to ride past the other people – and animals – on the sidewalks. A collision with a person or animal, despite a scooter max speed of ~15 miles per hour, can still result in injuries. And for the scooter riders who dare to ride on the roads with traffic, beware! Scooters are small and tough for drivers to see.
Many scooter riders are inexperienced and just learning how to ride and may not be able to focus on or maneuver around obstacles as they should.
Finally, where are the helmets? Typical electric scooter rentals don’t include helmets, although frequent riders may be able to request one from the company. We can’t stress enough the importance of a helmet to protect your head, especially when riding a vehicle without protection.
Many Florida cities beyond Miami are testing out the use of scooter-sharing programs. In the coming months, we will all gain a better handle on the impact of the scooter-sharing industry impact in Florida. Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. will be here to answer any of your questions about electric scooter laws and injuries in South Florida.
Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida. The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work. Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.