New Company, New Scrutiny for Electric Scooters in Detroit
Detroit has a flock of new residents coming to town—electric scooters.
A fourth electric scooter company, Boaz Bikes, launched 100 scooters in the city of Detroit at the end of May. While tourists may be delighted by the transportation options, business owners and Detroit residents are less than enthusiastic.
And now, with a new study on scooter-related injuries, the new scooters are even less welcome.
The Arrival of Boaz Bikes in Detroit
Boaz Bikes joins Bird, Lime, and Spin on the streets of Detroit. All three companies launched in the city last year.
Unfortunately for Boaz Bikes, the honeymoon period for the scooters has already worn off (for city officials, at least).
In September of last year, there were reports of users getting injured while on the scooters. The city of Ann Arbor got the scooters removed for violating a city ordinance, stating that the scooters were improperly parked in bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and city streets. According to city officials, motorized vehicles (like electric scooters) cannot be used on sidewalks or impede right-of-way.
The scooters came back in the spring, but with an increase in prices and a city-wide cap on the number of scooters that could clutter up the street.
Boaz’s prices are comparable to Bird, Lime, and Spin, but has a higher weight limit and provides scooters equipped with a seat, turn signals, and side mirrors.
New Study of Scooters
These added measures are meant to increase the overall safety of the scooter.
Unfortunately, Boaz has a lot of ground to cover.
A study released by public health officials in Austin, Texas and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collected data on the prevalence and nature of electric scooter accidents in and around Austin. Between nine county hospitals and emergency medical services incident reports, the study’s two-month examination period uncovered a startlingly high number of accidents.
Rider Injury Rates
The study looked at injuries occurring between September 5, 2018 and November 30, 2018.
In that time, the study found a total of 271 people with electric scooter injuries, classified into four groups:
- 160 confirmed cases
- 32 probable cases
- 46 suspect cases
- 32 not cases
Of the 192 confirmed and probable cases, 190 of them were riding scooters when they sustained their injuries. Nearly half of all the accidents (48%) involved riders aged 18 to 29 years of age.
Out of the 190 people who were injured while riding a scooter, 48% of them sustained head injuries, including fractures, lacerations, and abrasions. This shouldn’t be surprising if you recall that Bird, Lime, and Spin don’t provide helmets with their scooters, and many scooter riders, unlike motorcyclists, aren’t planning to ride and so don’t come prepared with a helmet.
In addition, about 70% of the total riders also sustained injuries to their upper limbs (arms, hands, and wrists). Over a third of all riders sustained a bone fracture.
Out of all 190 riders, 80 of them had severe injuries, with 84% of them sustaining bone fractures and 45% sustaining nerve, tendon, or ligament injuries.
Surprisingly, only 7% of riders showed signs of a traumatic brain injury, an impressively low number considering that less than 1% of riders were wearing helmets.
Trouble for Electric Scooters?
Boaz Bikes presents its scooters as a safer alternative to their competitors.
Their scooters include side mirrors and turn signals, which would help others around the scooter see what riders are doing. The trick, of course, is where scooters are allowed to ride—and whether riders obey traffic laws.
Liability in Scooter Accidents
In theory, companies should be responsible for the accidents their scooters cause.
In practice, electric scooter accidents don’t work that way.
You see, in order to use a scooter, you have to download an app and check out a scooter, so to speak. But before the app allows you to use a scooter, you have to consent to the user agreement. Bird’s user agreement states, in the fine print, that the rider takes on all responsibility and risk for any injuries or medical conditions caused by the scooters.
Other user agreements place a time limit on filing a liability claim, which a company can use to deny your claim at a later date.
If You’re Caught in a Scooter Accident
If you decide to take electric scooters for a spin (Boaz, Bird, or otherwise) always ride with caution.
If you find yourself caught in an electric scooter accident, we can help.
Our attorneys know that one bad day shouldn’t slow you down for months or years to come. And we believe in treating our clients with the dignity they deserve. We’re ready to fight for your rights so that you can stop worrying about the future and focus on what matters most: recovery.
If you need to speak with an attorney about your options, click here to schedule your free consultation.