More electric scooters around Denver means the increased potential for e-scooter accidents
There are currently around 2,000 electric scooters zooming around of Denver, and if you haven’t ridden one, you’ve no doubt seen them whizzing by or parked around town. After a short-lived and highly controversial debut in May 2018, Denver Public Works confiscated the devices citing safety concerns. They hit the sidewalks in full force in July, with the city’s cautious blessing and a set of regulations to help keep scooter riders and pedestrians moving along in harmony. Then an update to regulations re-classified e-scooters and required operators to ride them on the street or in bike lanes, not on sidewalks. All of these developments have led to a confusing mix of scooters, pedestrians and motorized vehicles and inevitably, some accidents will happen. Here’s what to do if you’ve been involved in a scooter accident:
#1 Know the rules
First, understand the rules, since you could be held liable for any scooter accident that you cause. Check with the rental company and/or local statutes for full regulations, but here are a few basics to get you started:
- Ride on the street or in a bike lane. Scooters are no longer considered “toy vehicles” and should not be operated on the sidewalk.
- Yield to pedestrians.
- Park the scooter so that it does not block foot traffic or access on sidewalks.
#2 Get to a safe place
If you’re involved in an e-scooter accident, move to a safe place if you are able. Get out of oncoming traffic and take the scooter with you. If you were crossing an intersection, it’s very important to move out of the way of any cars or bicycles.
#3 Check on anyone else involved
Make sure the other person involved doesn’t need immediate medical attention. Scooter accidents can involve pedestrians, cyclists, other scooter riders, motor vehicles–anyone on a sidewalk or road. If someone has been seriously hurt, call 911 immediately, regardless of who’s at fault. Because most scooter riders are not wearing helmets, head injuries are a primary concern.
#4 Call the police
Even if you don’t need emergency medical assistance, it’s important to call the police to report any scooter accident. There may be minor bodily injuries and property damage that need to be reported and documented for future claims. Give as many accurate details as you can for the report, even if they seem small, and be sure to ask for a copy of the report.
#5 Collect information from everyone involved
Even though contact information should be on the police report, go ahead and get as much information as you can from the other parties involved, as well as any witnesses on the scene. Take note of license plate numbers from cars, bike descriptions, etc. If you have your smartphone, take pictures of the scene and any damage.
#6 Get medical attention
Because some injuries present themselves after the fact (such as internal, brain and soft tissue injuries), you should visit an emergency room, urgent care facility or your primary care physician within 24 hours after filing the police report. Documentation of any medical care will be important for insurance claims.
#7 Talk to a lawyer
Because electric scooters are still a relatively new phenomenon, many people aren’t clear on the liabilities and rights associated with their usage. E-scooter rental companies require users to sign a terms of agreement form when they install the app, which theoretically releases the company from liability. But in the case of an accident, other factors can prove negligence. Was a distracted driver involved? Who had the right of way? Was there a dangerous maintenance issue on the road or driveway? Did the accident occur on private property? An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the process.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a rental e-scooter, contact us for a free case evaluation.