In early May, Chicago is set to receive some 4,000 rentable, stand-up electric scooters for use by the public. The arrival is good news for environmentally conscious people who want to get around quickly and inexpensively. But will the entrance of so many scooters lead to more traffic accidents?
The city says it has already addressed some of the safety concerns. To help protect pedestrians and other vehicle users, e-scooters will not be allowed on the Lakefront Trail, the 606, the Riverwalk, or Navy Pier. A City Council-approved ordinance requires that all scooters be equipped with “sidewalk detection” devices that notify riders on the sidewalk to move to the road or risk having their scooter slow to a standstill. Scooter companies must also use “lock-to” models, designed to be locked to something between rentals — a bike rack, tree or street sign — rather than left on sidewalks as a tripping hazard.
Scooter rider’s responsibility
Much rests in the hands of the rider. Small wheels, effortless acceleration, and limitations with braking can increase the risk of riding the new devices. The scooters don’t handle well on rough or rocky terrain, and they can travel up to 15 mph – three times faster than the average pedestrian walks. The riders themselves often fail to wear protective gear like a helmet. Witnesses have seen scooter users weaving in and out of traffic, forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk and going the wrong way on a one-way street.
With inexperienced or careless riders and without more built-in equipment safeguards, it’s possible that scooter use can quickly get out of control, leading to accidents with severe injuries and tragic fatalities.
What to do if you’re in an accident
Head injuries, broken bones, cuts, sprains and bruises are common in e-scooter accidents. As in any accident, the victim should first seek medical care, then get a police report and any witnesses’ names and contact information – critical first steps to help avoid serious legal consequences later on.
By all means, contact an injury lawyer. An experienced lawyer will obtain information about the accident, discuss your legal options and help you determine if you have a case. At Smith LaCien, we focus on winning the maximum amount possible for individual clients to cover their expenses for medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you believe you have a case, contact us today at [email protected].com or call (312) 509-8900.