New York City is about to see a surge in electric scooters on its streets. On Nov. 23, a recent New York law that lifted the ban on all personal electric scooters went into effect.
However, this does not mean that shared scooter companies like Lime and Bird will be able to operate in New York City, just yet. The lift on the ban only applies to personal scooters, not ones you can rent through an app. According to the New York Times, a pilot program testing the safety of shared scooter programs will launch in May of 2021 but will exclude Manhattan. Until then, shared scooter companies are essentially banished from operating in city limits.
Electric scooters began gaining popularity in the past two or three years after shared riding companies like Lime and Bird put down roots (and scooters) in big cities across the U.S. But with the new mode of transportation came new worries about safety. The scooters proved to be dangerous to both riders and to pedestrians. Emergency room doctors saw a dramatic uptick in scooter-related injuries sustained by riders. Scooter injuries could range from cuts and bruises to traumatic brain injuries and even death.
Ride-sharing moped companies like Revel saw a similar uptick in injuries, too. At the end of the summer, New York completely banned Revel mopeds from the city after two New York City Revel riders died in accidents. Electric mopeds put pedestrians at risk, as well. One elderly woman was struck by a 23-year-old Revel moped rider in Columbus Circle on Sep. 29. The 82-year-old woman sustained serious injuries. While Revel mopeds were temporarily banned from the city following the two deaths, Revel resumed business after implementing new safety measures.
Between 2018 and 2019, scooter-related injuries doubled. However, doctors generally agree that traumatic scooter-related injuries and deaths can be prevented by wearing a helmet. Bird and Lime both recommend that riders wear helmets, but wearing one is not a requirement to rent the scooter. When it comes to mopeds, each rented Revel moped comes with two helmets for the rider and a passenger, but many riders choose not to wear them. Because electric scooter and moped companies face challenges enforcing safety rules, they continue to see rising scooter-related injuries being attributed to their products.
And for New York City lawmakers, finding ways to enforce safety measures on electric scooters has proven to be a setback in legalizing their use. Most of the riders who get into accidents while riding electric scooters are inexperienced and not wearing safety gear. Finding ways to enforce safety precautions and provide training programs for new riders will be scooter companies’ and lawmakers’ next priority.
If you were injured in a scooter accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Scooter-related injuries are on the rise, and it is not uncommon for clients, both riders and pedestrians, to win compensation after an accident. Please do not hesitate to contact the New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to inquire how much your case could be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.
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