Electric Scooter Safety: What You Need to Know
If you live in a major metropolitan area like Las Vegas, you’ve probably seen them around. Stand-up electric scooters and electric assist bicycles are popping up all over the U.S. as the shared micro-mobility market rises in popularity.
E-scooters are popular for good reasons. They are easy to use, relatively cheap, and a fun mode of transportation. However, many riders don’t realize the risks involved when hopping on an electric scooter.
Recently, there’s been an uptick in e-scooter related accidents. YouTube star Emily Hartridge died at the scene after colliding with a truck while riding an electric scooter last year. This was the first fatal crash involving an electric scooter in the UK. Unfortunately, accidents and fatalities involving electric scooters are on the rise.
What is an Electric Scooter?
An electric scooter (or e-scooter) is a stand-up, two-wheeled, one-person scooter powered by a small utility internal combustion engine. The first scooter debuted in 1985, but it wasn’t until recently that the popularity of electric scooters really took off.
How do they work?
Mechanically, electric scooters run on rechargeable batteries that will keep the scooter running for a distance of 10 to 40 miles. The motor is mounted on the scooter’s frame. The battery produces electricity, which is transmitted to the motor. This either makes the front wheel or both wheels rotate to push the scooter forward.
Electric scooters that are popping up in cities world-wide are usually dock-less and GPS-tracked. This means that you can rent them using an app on your smartphone and leave them anywhere in a pre-approved service area.
How to use an e-scooter:
- Download the app
- A map will show you nearby available e-scooters
- Add your credit card under the “Payments” section
- Select an e-scooter near your and tap to unlock it
- Take a photo of the scooter’s QR code
- Scan your driver’s license if this is your first rental
- To activate the e-scooter, step on, kick forward and push the throttle button
- Press down on the right to accelerate as you ride
- Squeeze brake on the left to slow down or stop
- To end the ride, find an appropriate place to park
Electric Scooter Rules and Regulations
Rentable e-scooters do have certain restrictions. Be sure to check your local laws because some of the rules vary from state to state. However, here are some safety laws that generally apply to all electric scooters.
- You must be 18 years or older to ride.
- Most e-scooters can only go about 15 miles per hour.
- You must have a valid driver’s license.
- You are not permitted to ride scooters on sidewalks.
- Scooters can only be ridden one person at a time.
- You cannot ride the scooter in public parks.
- You do not need insurance to ride an electric scooter.
- Some states require riders to wear a helmet.
- You must still follow regular traffic laws.
Electric Scooter Companies
In the last few years many companies have attempted to succeed in the electric scooter market. Only a handful have managed to rise above. Below are some of the more wellknown rentable e-scooter companies.
- Bird: Founded in 2017 by a former Uber and Lyft executive, Bird now has shared electric scooters in over 100 cities worldwide. They charge about 25 cents a minute.
- Lime: Originally a bike sharing company, Lime branched out to electric scooters. Now the company has scooters in over 27 international cities and over 100 cities in the U.S. They charge about 23 cents a minute.
- Spin: Also originally a bicycle sharing company, Spin added electric scooters in 2018. They charge about 15 cents a minute.
- Bolt: This company sets itself apart from the pack with its low center of gravity. Most e-scooters have a base like a skateboard, but Bolt has a plastic divider so the rider has to step on either side. They charge about 15 cents a minute plus a dollar per ride.
- Jump: Uber’s version of the ride sharing e-scooter, Jump also offers electric bikes. They charge about 26 cents per minute.
- Lyft: The other giant rideshare company Lyft, also got in on the electronic scooter game with its own version. Lyft users can use the same app they use to hail a ride to find a scooter. They charge about 15 cents a minute.
Electric Scooter Accidents
Since 2018, when rentable electric scooters first came onto the scene, at least 29 people have died in an e-scooter accident. Most of the fatalities involved a collision with a motor vehicle. Although 29 might not seem like a lot, it signals that e-scooters can still be dangerous.
In a recent study, a dramatic increase in injuries and hospitalizations was connected to e-scooter use between 2017 and 2018. (Journal of the American Medical Association) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 20 riders are injured for every 100,000 trips.
Electric scooter deaths are also a sad reality. Four people have died riding e-scooters in Atlanta—more than any other city. San Francisco-based Lime had the highest number of scooter-related fatalities at 11. Out of all the fatalities, most of the victims were male.
Electric Scooter Safety
There’s always a risk when you decide to ride an electric scooter, just like there’s a risk when you go behind the wheel. But there are also things you can do to keep safe while riding an electric scooter.
- Wear a helmet. Many of the electric scooter companies make helmets easily accessible with special deals or partnerships.
- Check the tires. If the tires seem flat or lacking tread, choose another scooter.
- Be alert. Riding a scooter is fun, but don’t lose your focus. Watch out for pedestrians, cyclists, and oncoming traffic.
- Follow the law. Always ride in the direction of traffic. Yield to pedestrians and signal if you are going to change directions. Follow stop signs and stop lights.
- Park responsibly. You’ve probably seen e-scooters tossed to the side of the road. Don’t be that person! Follow your local laws and make sure to park the scooter away from walkways, driveways, accessibility ramps.
- Avoid hills. Riding down a steep hill could overpower the electric scooter brake and cause it to malfunction. Walk your scooter down the hill.
- Avoid bad weather. Wet roads make for dangerous scooter riding conditions. Better to find alternate modes of transportation then risk a bad accident.
- Check the brakes. All e-scooters have hand brakes on the left handlebars. Test the handlebar before starting your trip.
Experienced Las Vegas, NV Personal Injury Lawyers
We wish you a safe and happy ride, no matter your form of transportation.Review our electric scooter safety tips . We also hope to make you aware of the risks that electric scooter riders face in and around Las Vegas. Everyone can do their part to reduce electric scooter accidents.
But even if you take all of the precautions in the world, electric scooter accidents can happen. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an electric scooter accident in the Las Vegas area, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today. Our personal injury attorneys are ready to help you protect your rights.
We offer free initial consultations.