After a short reprieve, electric scooter rentals returned to Providence at the end of the year, following the city’s approval to allow e-scooter rental companies Spin and VeoRide, a combined total of 600 scooters. As the prevalence of electric scooters has increased in cities like Providence RI, so have the scooter injuries in these cities. As personal injury lawyers in Providence, at Tapalian Law we have seen scooter accidents result in serious injury when a rider collides with a car or truck, especially if the victim is not wearing a safety helmet.
As the availability of electric scooter rental programs increased, rentals nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018. Emergency room physicians across the U.S. saw a corresponding uptick in the number of patients suffering injuries as the result of a scooter accident, and scooter injuries jumped an alarming 82%. This sharp increase in e-scooter trauma was reported in a recent study by the University of California, San Francisco. Unlike car accidents, data on scooter injuries is still in its relative infancy. However, other studies have reported similar, striking results, as shown in our Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog.
An easy, low-cost transportation option, e-scooter rentals can certainly be a useful tool to get around the city. However, as Providence personal injury lawyers we can’t stress enough how imperative it is that operators, especially novice users who are particularly prone to getting hurt, wear a safety helmet and take the time to familiarize themselves with the operation of the vehicle and its rules for use to prevent injury. Providence’s E-Scooter Share Program, as well as the individual rental company websites, provides information on proper use.
Injuries from Scooter Accidents
Injuries from scooter accidents run the gamut from minor cuts and bruises to brain injury, including fatalities. In particular, the high rate of head injury to electric scooter users is a huge concern. A serious head injury can dramatically alter a person’s life leaving them unable to complete routine, daily tasks on their own without help. The study reports that 1/3 of e-scooter injury patients had head trauma, double the rate of bicyclists. The simple step of putting on a helmet can be life-saving. As Providence personal injury lawyers, we know how detrimental, and life-altering, a serious head injury can be to a victim and strongly urge scooter riders and bicyclists to always wear a safety helmet.
Aside from head injuries, common e-scooter injuries include fractures (27%), contusions/abrasions (23%), and lacerations (14%). Typical injury locations are the head, wrist, elbow, and hip.
Unsuspecting pedestrians are also victims of scooter accidents when an inexperienced rider crashes into the person or a scooter is left carelessly on the sidewalk causing a tripping hazard. The Providence E-Scooter Share Program states “when you finish your ride, make sure you park your e-scooter in a location that does not impede a pedestrian walkway”. It also suggests e-scooters be parked upright near the curb of sidewalks, leaving enough space for pedestrians to get by safely.
The Danger of E-Scooter Rentals
Lack of experience is the chief reason so many e-scooter riders are getting hurt. The vehicles are a relatively new transportation alternative and users and pedestrians alike are still getting used to how they operate and the rules of the road. Novice scooter riders who don’t take the time to familiarize themselves with the operation and safety rules set out by the rental companies and the City of Providence can be a great risk to themselves and others on the road, including motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Providence Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian has seen a number of scooter collisions caused by operators driving erratically, swerving in and out between pedestrians or vehicles, and not obeying traffic rules.
Riders must obey traffic laws and follow the rules of the roads such as stopping at traffic lights and stop signs. Though allowed to operate on sidewalks or in the road, riders must go slow and yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk or on a blocked-of street. Just like a reckless motor vehicle driver, a scooter operator speeding, using alcohol or drugs, using a cell phone, and/or acting carelessly, and illegally, is at great risk for injury and accidents.
Road conditions like potholes and uneven pavement, as well as adverse weather, can also contribute to scooter accidents. E-scooters should not be used in snow or icy conditions.
Contact Tapalian Law for Your Scooter Injury
If you’ve been injured in an accident with an electric scooter, whether as the operator, a pedestrian, or a motor vehicle driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Providence RI at Tapalian Law. Attorney David Tapalian has been helping injured people in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for over 20 years, recover compensation after a car accident, truck accident, bike accident, slip and fall, or other type of personal injury, caused by the fault of another. We offer a free, no obligation, consultation where we will discuss the details of your injury claim, obtain relevant medical history and police reports, and determine the best course of action for your claim. Our main office is located at 350 South Main St, in Providence, RI, with easy, free parking, as well as offices in Warwick, RI, and Seekonk, MA. If you are too hurt to come to us, our skilled personal injury team will come to you at your convenience. Call Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000, or set up your free consultation with our online form.