Shared scooters and bikes are becoming increasingly common in urban settings when navigating traffic in a car could be more difficult. The ridesharing aspect of these vehicles also makes them convenient for people who do not drive or own a car.
Unfortunately, every new idea often comes with new dangers. Below, our Fort Worth vehicle collision attorneys discuss the hazards of using ridesharing scooters and bikes.
If you were injured in a scooter or bike accident, you should strongly consider getting into contact with our firm as soon as possible. Our lawyers are prepared to help you through the legal process to help you recover maximum compensation. The consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees.
What Are the Risks of Shared Scooters and Bikes?
There are many risks already associated with the use of bikes and scooters on the streets. However, if you throw in the variable of multiple people using the same vehicle without taking the precautions the owner of one would take, you have a recipe for potential disaster.
The most obvious risk of using these rideshare scooters and bikes is that most of them do not come equipped with a helmet. Even if they do, helmets are an easy thing to get lost or stolen off these bikes and scooters. Most people do not walk around with a helmet in a purse or backpack. This means most people are riding these things without helmets.
Other risks associated with the use of shared scooters and bikes include:
Most people who own a scooter or bike know the traffic laws they must follow when riding because there are usually warnings in the owner’s manual. Some scooter companies go as far as including a training manual to help get the user accustomed to the scooter. Since shared scooters and bikes are intended for people who do not own one, there is an increased risk for improper use of these vehicles.
When a person rents a scooter for the first time, it may also be his or her first time riding one. Since people must pay for every ride, they may not want to waste their money learning how it works before taking off to their intended destination. Even the most confident person needs to learn how the brakes and accelerator work. Without someone there to teach the person how to ride the scooter properly, an accident could occur.
Lack of Proper Maintenance
These vehicles are made from consumer-grade parts that are not designed to withstand excessive use. For example, the tread on the tires may wear out faster and may not be replaced as often as it should be. The regular wear and tear on these vehicles could increase the risk of a serious accident.
There have also been instances when shared bikes and scooters have been vandalized, including having the brakes cut. Since the companies that own the scooters are not regularly conducting maintenance checks on these vehicles, this could pose a serious risk for those using the shared scooters.
Poor Safety Features and Equipment
Aside from a lack of helmets provided to users, shared scooters and bikes often lack proper safety features for use. For example, weak headlights that drivers and pedestrians may not be able to see at night. Since most shared scooter and bike users tend to use these vehicles at night when public transportation is scarce, this could lead to a serious accident.
The wheels on the shared scooters are also dangerous, as they are small and incapable of shock absorption. This could be a problem because the rider is more likely to lose control of the scooter and get into a collision.
One safety feature shared bikes and scooters do have is an automated speed reduction to prevent riders from traveling at unsafe speeds. However, even this has its own issue, as most shared scooter and bike companies do not put a warning on the vehicles to alert riders to this feature.
Who May Be Liable in a Shared Scooter or Bike Accident?
Liability for a scooter or bike accident generally comes down to whether the person on the bike or scooter acted negligently or the driver who crashed into them did. However, in a shared bike or scooter accident, there is the possibility that the company that owns that shared bike or scooter is liable. This is because of the issues with their product the companies may be aware of yet failed to act on.
Unfortunately, shared scooter and bike companies have taken steps to evade liability by getting users to sign a waiver of liability agreement. This makes holding these companies liable for their actions more difficult, but not impossible. If the company’s product is defective, you may be able to pursue compensation.
However, after an accident, your first course of action should be to contact an attorney to discuss legal options.
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