60 W. Randolph St., Suite 450, Chicago, IL 60601

Search
Livas Law Group

Chicago scooter injury lawyerOver the last two years, the city of Chicago has been experimenting with electric scooters as a form of public transportation. During the pilot program, which took place over four months in both 2019 and 2020, scooters were placed in various areas of the city for riders to rent via a smartphone application. Each iteration of the program saw Chicago residents take more than 640,000 rides, as the city attempted to determine if and how the scooters could be added to the local infrastructure permanently.

Of course, with any mode of transportation comes the risk of accidents and injuries, and this is definitely true with e-scooters. Careless riders can cause traffic accidents, and scooters parked haphazardly on sidewalks can lead to trip-and-fall injuries to passing pedestrians or other riders. However, there are other ways in which e-scooters can cause serious injuries, including at least one that might surprise you.

Fire Linked to E-Scooter Battery

Last month, New York City firefighters were called to a blaze on Watson Avenue in the Soundview section of the Bronx. According to news reports, the fire started on the fifth floor of the seven-story apartment building. Officials from the FDNY said that it took about 30 minutes to get the fire under control, but the blaze left a dozen people injured. Four of them, including a 4-year-old little boy, were critically injured. Firefighters had to use their tower ladder to get people out of the burning apartment, as well as the adjacent apartments.

...

Chicago personal injury lawyerThis week, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company announced plans to bring e-scooters with remote-operating features to cities in Europe and North America later this year. The announcement marks the first solid plans to introduce a new, three-wheeled scooter model. The remote-operating capabilities of the scooter are expected to promote safety and to decrease the number of injuries related to scooters left on sidewalks or on roadways.

A New Way Forward

Spin is the Ford subsidiary responsible for micro-mobility projects, including electric scooters and similar vehicles, and it was one of the three companies that provided e-scooters for the second iteration of the scooter test program in Chicago last year. The company said that it would be releasing the Spin S-200 model this year. In addition, Spin also indicated that its partnership with the software company Tortoise is giving the S-200 capabilities that no other widely-available scooters currently have—namely, the ability to be operated remotely.

According to the company’s announcement, the new Spin Valet software platform can use the built-in front- and rear-facing cameras on the scooter to allow a remote operations team to drive the scooter without being on it. The remote-operation feature will serve several purposes. First and foremost, the remote operations team will be able to find scooters that are left in the path of pedestrians and street traffic and move them at low speeds—3 miles per hour or less—to safer locations. The team will also use the feature to “deliver” scooters to those who request them using Spin’s scooter-hailing app. Eventually, the remote team will also direct scooters with depleted batteries to charging hubs.

...

Chicago scooter injury attorneyLast month, the second year of Chicago’s electric scooter test program came to an end. Between August 12 and December 12, 2020, residents and visitors to the city took over 640,000 rides on “rented” e-scooters in a variety of areas and neighborhoods. While the city’s focus was on determining the feasibility of a permanent scooter program as a form of public transportation, riders were simply trying to get where they were going. Unfortunately, with so many people on scooters, accidents are bound to happen. If you were injured in any type of accident caused by someone on a scooter, you may have options for collecting compensation.

Establishing Fault

When an injury-causing accident occurs, the first step toward collecting damages is determining what caused the accident and which party or parties were at fault. Riders in the scooter pilot program were expected to follow very specific rules regarding where to ride, how fast to ride, and how to be safe. Not all riders follow the rules, however, and failing to follow the rules could make a rider liable for any injuries that he or she causes as a result. For example, if you were crossing the street at an intersection and you should have had the right of way, and you were hit by a scooter rider who failed to stop or yield for you, the rider is likely to be found at fault.

Keep in mind that it is possible for you to share in the liability for the accident and still collect compensation. To continue the example above, if you were crossing at the same intersection with your eyes glued to your phone, it could be argued that you were partially responsible for the accident for failing to look around you. Under Illinois law, you could still pursue compensation as long as you are not found to be more than half at fault for the accident. Your compensation, however, will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

...

Chicago personal injury attorneyFor the second time in two years, the City of Chicago experimented with an e-scooter pilot program to get a feel for how electric scooters might affect daily commutes and off-hour transportation in the city. This year’s program ran from August 12 to December 12 after being delayed by the COVID-19 health crisis. City officials, however, are now wondering what to do next after ridership dropped by over 20 percent compared to last year’s program.

Larger Program, Fewer Rides

In 2019, the e-scooter pilot program ran from June to October, and it saw approximately 821,000 trips on about 2,500 electric scooters. The program also served a relatively small portion of the city, but seasonable summer weather and the novelty of the idea encouraged many people to give e-scooters a chance. This year was quite different.

For the 2020 version of the program, 10,000 scooters were available across an area four times as large as last year, but only 640,000 rides were logged this year. While the program seemed to get off to a decent start, the delay caused by the pandemic pushed the four-month experiment from the summer into the fall—which had an effect on the weather during the program. Of course, the health crisis also forced the closure of countless businesses, meaning people generally had fewer places to go.

...

Chicago personal injury lawyerThe 2020 edition of Chicago’s shared e-scooter pilot program is winding down, and it will officially end on December 12. While there is little question that the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 affected how many people utilized the shared scooters, city officials are optimistic about continuing to offer shared scooters in the future.

It is also important, however, to acknowledge that electric scooters pose a serious risk of injury, especially if they are not used properly and in accordance with local rules and ordinances. In fact, a recent study has found that e-scooter injuries have dramatically increased in recent years, including injuries to the head and neck.

A Look at the Numbers

Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk is the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI. She recently led a team of researchers who looked at e-scooter injuries treated in emergency rooms across the country over the last three years.

...
Back to Top