Lawmakers in New York City have been debating the issue of electric bicycles and scooters for years. Those in favor of e-bikes and e-scooters say that they offer a clean and green alternative to diesel and gasoline engines, but they are currently banned in Manhattan due to concerns over pedestrian safety. Companies like Lime and Bird will soon be able to rent e-scooters in other parts of the Empire State, but New York City residents will still have to rely on leg power, motor vehicles or public transportation to get around. A recent study of e-scooter injuries will add weight to the arguments made by supporters of the ban and is unlikely to change the minds of many city lawmakers.
Officials from Texas and researchers from the Centers for Disease Control conducted interviews with and looked at the medical records of e-scooter riders who were injured in accidents in September, October and November 2018. The study, which was released on May 2, reveals that almost half of the injured e-scooter riders suffered a head injury of some sort and 15% suffered a traumatic brain injury. The researchers concluded that many of these injuries could have been prevented by a helmet, but only one of the 190 riders who suffered a head injury was so protected.
Scooter rental companies were criticized in the study for not doing more to promote safe riding. A third of the riders interviewed told researchers that they consumed alcohol in the 12 hours before they crashed and more than a third admitted to riding too fast. Distraction also appears to have played a role. One of the riders admitted that they were using a cellphone when they lost control and six others said that they were listening to music on portable devices.
Scooter and bicycle riders are expected to do all that they reasonably can to avoid striking pedestrians and cars, and they may face civil sanctions when they fail to meet this duty of care. Experienced personal injury attorneys may also initiate motor vehicle accident lawsuits against scooter and bicycle manufacturers when injuries are caused by defective or poorly maintained products or riders are not properly warned about the potential risks.
Source: The New York Times, Electric Scooters Are Coming to New York, but You Can’t Rent One in Manhattan, Emma G. Fitzsimmons, June 18, 2019