Hundreds of people in California have been injured in accidents involving electric scooters. Emergency rooms across the state have seen an increase in the number of ER patients with scooter-related injuries. Head injuries appear to be the number one problem for scooter accident victims. Many of these injuries have potentially life-changing consequences for those victims.
Many cities and municipalities in the state are taking action to address the growing problem posed by electric scooters. San Diego, however, has appeared to have taken a “hands-off” approach. City lawmakers have failed to implement policies to regulate rental scooters and protect the public.
New Scooter Regulations and Policies in California
It’s hard to visit a major city in California without seeing someone riding down the road on an electric scooter. Most of these scooters aren’t privately owned. Instead, they’re part of a fleet of scooters provided by technology companies. Bird and Lime are responsible for the majority of electric scooters in the state. Scooters are available for use by anyone with a driver’s license. All you have to do is download an app, unlock a scooter, and pay a fee. Once you’re done with the scooter, you simply end your trip and leave it for the next person.
When these rent-by-the-minute electric scooters were introduced in California cities, few had regulatory policies in place. As a result, the scooters were largely unregulated and operated in ways that posed a real threat to the public safety. Many scooter accidents happen because:
- Riders are inexperienced and required no special training
- Scooter companies fail to provide safety instructions
- Riders are responsible for providing their own helmets
- Scooters are regularly operated on sidewalks
- Riders are operating scooters while intoxicated
- Riders regularly violated local traffic laws applicable to motorized scooters, and
- Roads become too congested with vehicles.
Many cities in California took some action to put a stop to scooter accidents.
Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills banned rental electric scooters within city limits for 6 months. The city planned to use that time to create laws and policies to regulate scooter companies and keep residents safe.
Newport Beach. Newport Beach ordered Bird to remove all of its scooters from the city. A temporary ban has given the city some time to figure out the problem.
West Hollywood. Scooter companies are now prohibited from offering scooters for rent within the city limits of West Hollywood. Scooters are permitted if they’re rented from another town or are privately owned.
Los Angeles. Lawmakers in Los Angeles have created specific policies and regulations that address (a) scooter rental companies and (b) scooter operation in the city. Companies are now limited to having a fleet of 3,000 scooters in Los Angeles. Those companies must also track each vehicle in a fleet and remove any that are docked on public sidewalks. Anyone who rents a scooter in the city must adhere to new safety laws.
Many cities have also implemented pilot programs that allow the cities themselves to benefit from the rental scooter programs. The programs collect fees and gather data to help city officials create rules that serve the best interest of the public.
San Diego Hasn’t Addressed the Electric Scooter Problem
Hospitals in San Diego continue to acknowledge that scooter accidents are a serious problem. While there haven’t been any fatal accidents in the city yet, many believe that it’s just a matter of time. However, San Diego officials haven’t done anything to address the issue. There are reports indicating that the City Council has received multiple requests for some sort of regulation on electric scooter companies. These requests have been submitted by elected officials, medical professionals, and accident victims themselves.
Despite the demands for safer streets and scooter regulation, the city hasn’t come up with a single policy or ordinance. The city claims that it is taking its time and considering its options. Mayor Kevin Faulconer explained that city officials are talking about “developing a set of rules that focus on rider safety and operator responsibility that will allow for the natural growth of this alternative form of transportation.”
Despite this assertion, San Diego residents have not seen any real proof that the city plans to make changes anytime soon. Many believe that San Diego is fearful of harming business relationships with emerging technology companies. Some have even called the city’s approach “naive.”
Accidents Will Continue Until San Diego Imposes New Regulations
Electric scooters are relatively new in San Diego. Whenever technology changes, it’s important for the law to change right along with it. Many cities across the state of California have taken real action and made changes to existing laws. Doing so is necessary to maintain a balance of power and protect its citizens.
San Diego, however, has not taken any official action to protect its streets and sidewalks. Electric scooter companies aren’t subject to regulations that keep operators and pedestrians safe. Until that occurs, accidents will happen and hospitals will continue to see patients suffering from scooter-related injuries.
It’s important to understand your legal rights if you’ve been injured in an electric scooter accident in San Diego. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you fight for the money you deserve when you need it most.