Bird electric scooters are back on Louisville streets after getting appropriate permits and reaching an agreement with the city. They were briefly seen around town in late July 2018, but the city compelled Bird to temporarily shut down because of licensing and safety issues. Only 100 of the scooters will be allowed in the city, and they can only be used inside of the Watterson Expressway.
As of 2018, people can rent a Bird Scooter in Louisville from their smartphone app for a dollar plus 15 cents per minute. When a renter arrives at their destination, he or she simply ends their ride in the app and leaves the scooter there. The scooters are not allowed to block sidewalks, streets or alleys. They’re either used again by another renter or picked up later in the day for battery charging by people called “chargers”. The scooters aren’t allowed to be operated on sidewalks, nor are they allowed to block them. They can only be used on streets and bike lanes.
Riders of Bird Scooters are virtually unprotected. Nearly all of them ride without helmets. The scooter and rider present a narrow and low profile in or around traffic. Not only are they at the mercy of motorists, but there are also safety issues regarding potholes, debris and gravel on roadways, uneven surfaces and loose storm sewer grates.
With a top speed of 15 mph, Bird scooters not only place riders at risk, but they also put pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists at risk as well. Scooter riders are required to be 18 years of age, but children often ride them. The risk of personal injury from a scooter accident rises when operators ride on or across sidewalks, park scooters on sidewalks, block ingress and egress to and from buildings or operate them with two riders. Should an operator brake hard at full speed, he or she can get thrown from the scooter onto the pavement below. At 15 mph, severe and permanent injuries like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries can be suffered by both riders and pedestrians. Other injuries can include the following:
- Fractures and dislocations.
- Facial and dental injuries.
- Organ damage.
- Back and neck injuries.
- Road rash leading to infection.
Types of Bird Scooter Accidents
Given the way that Bird Scooters are used and abused, many of the accident victims are the operators themselves. Some common issues involve the condition of the throttle, brakes, handlebars and tires. Poor condition of these components can cause the user to lose control and fall, hit something or somebody. Of course, sometimes negligent drivers hit scooters with their cars, also.
Here are some other types of accidents that riders get into:
- Riders attempting to avoid another scooter, a motor vehicle, bicyclist or pedestrian.
- Being chased by a loose dog or attempting to avoid a loose dog.
- Pedestrians being hit by scooters.
- Pedestrians tripping and falling over scooters that were left on the ground.
- Scooter riders being “doored” when motorists open car doors.
- Road defects
Compensation for Damages
Unlike motor vehicles, there is no liability insurance requirement in Kentucky for scooters. Who might compensate somebody else for their injuries and damages depends on who was at fault for the accident. If the rider was at fault, he or she might have homeowners or renters insurance that would possibly cover the accident. If a scooter rider is hit as a result of the negligence of a motorist, that motorist’s insurer will probably step in. Should the accident be caused by a pedestrian, the homeowners or renters insurance of the pedestrian might cover the accident. If a road defect caused a crash that injured a scooter rider, the municipality where the defect was located might be held liable. In an accident involving an unleashed dog, the dog owner’s homeowners or renters insurance might be pursued.
Contact a Louisville Scooter Accident Lawyer
One of the major issues with electric scooter cases is the lack of any required insurance coverage. If you were injured in any type of a Bird scooter accident, contact us right away to arrange for a free consultation and case review. We can explore the insurance issue for you. We might find coverage that you never knew about. If such coverage exists, we’ll advise you of your full range of legal options. Contact us right away after any electric scooter accident.