Tampa is experimenting with e-scooter rentals in the downtown area. Currently, they have permitted four companies to place scooters and docking stations in downtown and in Hyde Park. The companies are Bird, Spin, Lime and Jump.
E-scooters are fun, inexpensive and, yes, dangerous. No experience is required. Riders are also not required to wear a helmet (if over 16) or to carry insurance. They can be operated on most sidewalks in Tampa, although a few are specifically excluded. As of June, 2019, a new Florida law went into effect allowing e-scooters to be ridden on streets, in bike lanes and on sidewalks, subject to local municipal restrictions. Basically, e-scooters are subject to the same rules and rights as someone on a bicycle.
The Dangers of E-Scooters
Electronic scooter riders will also face the same dangers as a cyclist. Motorists are not looking for e-scooters and most motorists have never encountered one on the road. Riders will be entering and crossing city streets from the sidewalk. This means many e-scooter riders will be placing themselves in danger of being hit by a car, truck or SUV at every intersection and with every street crossing.
When riding on the sidewalk, e-scooter riders will be confronted by vehicles emerging from driveways and alleys, as well as motorists attempting to turn into a driveway or parking lot. These are the same dangers bicyclists face on city streets, resulting in many collisions and serious injuries.
Most experienced cyclists ride with bright flashing lights on the front and rear of their bicycle in order to be seen by motorists. Effectively bright flashing lights are not available on most e-scooters. The lights which are available on most of them are totally ineffective at making the scooter and its rider noticeable to passing motorists.
What Type of Insurance Covers Injuries from a Florida Electronic Scooter Crash?
As the number of e-scooters increases in Tampa and surrounding cities, there will be crashes and many injuries. Do not assume the e-scooter companies offer any insurance with a rental. If you collide with a privately owned car or commercial vehicle, you may have medical insurance available to you under Florida No-Fault insurance laws. If you own a car, or live with a family member who owns a car, the No-Fault or PIP insurance on that car should provide medical coverage to you. Otherwise, you would look to the No-Fault or PIP on the motorist’s policy. The circumstances of each crash will vary as to what insurance may be available.
Types of Injuries Suffered from an E-Scooter Collision
No one expects to be hit by a car while cruising the city streets and sidewalks on a beautiful day. But the unexpected happens and serious injuries are inevitable. We have extensive experience representing cyclists across the state in our Florida bicycle injury practice. The most common injuries our clients have suffered are all related to the fact that cyclists have virtually no protection when hit by a car or other vehicle. In bicycle crashes, despite wearing a helmet, concussions are one of the most common injuries we see. Expect a dramatic rise in the number of concussions e-scooter riders will suffer when most will not be using a helmet. Concussions have the potential to change one’s life in ways most people have never considered.
After concussions, fractures are the most common cycling injuries. Surgeries for collar bone fractures, hip and pelvic fractures, as well as rotator cuff tears and shoulder separations are very common. They are also very expensive, and require medical care and rehabilitation. It is expected that wrist and other upper extremity fractures will be common in a crash between an e-scooter and a vehicle.
Our Florida Law Firm Handles E-Scooter Accident Cases
If you have been injured in a crash with a car, truck or SUV while riding an e-scooter, you need the help of an experienced attorney. We will answer your questions and give you our best advice, not only about getting your medical bills paid, but also about compensation for your injuries. Our clients appreciate letting us handle the insurance and legal issues while they focus on their recovery. Yes, our primary office is in Clearwater, but we will gladly come to you. We have extensive experience representing clients all across Florida who do not live geographically close to our office. Check out our Google and AVVO reviews to see what actual clients say about their experience with us.
If you've been hurt in an electronic scooter accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.