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More Sacramento Residents Using Electric Bicycles and Scooters

E-Scooters and Bicycles Rising in Popularity Despite Problems in Sacramento

Sacramento ranks just behind the City of Lights, Paris, France, in the use of Jump electric bicycles and scooters, according to the parent company Uber. This designation, with its encouragement of an eco-friendly way to get around, is welcome to many Sacramentans. The number of available electric bicycles and scooters within the city limits has grown immensely in the past year. Currently, there are over 2,000 scooters available in Sacramento provided by Jump and Lime. Other companies, such as Spin and Bird, will be operational soon. In March, it is expected that there will be approximately 1,000 bicycles and about 3,000 scooters on the streets in Sacramento. As a driver or a pedestrian, you’ve seen first hand the explosion of electric bikes and scooters on the roads and even on the sidewalks. Let’s look at the effect this is having, such as the types of accidents and defects associated with bikes and scooters and other problems as well as liability. 

Reasons for Electric Bicycle and Scooter Accidents

There are a variety of reasons that such accidents happen. Some common ones are:

  • Using both bikes and scooters on sidewalks can result in accidents. The greatest risk is to pedestrians. Scooters are not allowed on the sidewalk, and police are enforcing this law with $207 fines. Low-speed electric bicycles (class 1&2)  are essentially like regular bicycles and are allowed on the sidewalk in certain areas of Sacramento and not in others. The bike riders must yield to pedestrians. High-powered electric bicycles (gas-powered or class 3) that can reach a speed of 28 mph are not allowed on the sidewalks. 
  • The use of an electric bicycle or scooter on roads can result in injury to the rider. Electric scooters can be ridden in the road as long as the speed limit does not exceed 25 mph. They are also allowed to ride in the bicycle lane. Electric bicycles are allowed in the bike lanes. If the speed limit is 25 mph or less, the motorized bicycle can be used on the road. Electric bicycle and scooter riders are at risk for accidents when sharing the road with cars and other motorized vehicles due to their low profile. 
  • Parking both electric bicycles and scooters recklessly can lead to accidents for pedestrians. Both must be parked in racks or drop zones. If users choose to not follow this rule, they will likely receive a warning or a citation. The problem is that leaving either on the sidewalk can cause a pedestrian to trip and fall. 

Defects That Lead to Accidents

Sometimes, the rented bicycles and scooters are defective and cause rider injury. Some of the most common defects are:

  • Battery crash while riding
  • Brake failure
  • Throttle remains on high speed
  • Tire defects
  • Loose handlebars
  • Locking front wheels
  • Scooter baseboard cracks

Rider Injury With Electric Bicycles and Scooters

A study done at a major university showed that the number of injuries jumped three-fold for those using electric scooters and bicycles. The most common injuries are to the lower extremities and the head. The latter can cause significant harm and even disability. The greatest number of those injured involved riders under 34 years old. Urban areas have roughly six times more people injured than in residential areas. 

Liability

A big question for those using a rented electric bicycle or scooter is who is liable after an accident. Most agreements that users sign free the rental company from liability. This includes both injuries to the user as well as those caused by them. Neither are users required to carry liability insurance. Your attorney will be able to explain if uninsured motorist protection will help if a user is harmed by a motorist. This protection is offered as part of an auto insurance policy by insurance companies. It provides coverage whether the policyholder or his or her family member is hurt while driving, biking, or walking.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. If you or a member of your family is injured, I can provide free and friendly advice. Just phone me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. You can also reach me online.

I’ve been helping residents of Sacramento for more than 38 years in all types of car accidents, wrongful deaths, and brain injuries.

I am a proud member of the Million Dollar Advocates and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

Learn more about my practice by using the following links:

Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/photos/e-scooter-electric-scooter-4786239/

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