There’s been an explosion of caused by e-scooters, which are now in U.S. 100 cities. Consumer Reports injuries from 110 hospitals in 47 U.S. cities between late 2017 through early 2019 and found that at least 1,500 riders had been injured and four had died while using a rentable e-scooter. In June 2019, the number of deaths linked to e-scooters rose to . And malfunctioning scooters – not the riders - are often to blame.
When CBS’s 60 Minutes “The Great Electric Scooter Backlash” in September 2019, California attorney Catherine Lerer spoke of the kinds of cases she sees:
“The calls that I get from riders who are injured, they are injured when the scooter malfunctions,” she said.
“Do you get the impression that they malfunction much?” asked [correspondent David] Pogue.
“Very much, all the time,” Lerer said. “The scooters die mid-ride. The brakes lock up. The handlebar post collapses. The handlebars detach. They were never intended to be like rental cars, commercial fleet usage, you know, use after use after use every day. And that’s why they have a lifespan of only 30 to 45 days!”
Knowing they are culpable but don’t want to be held accountable, e-scooter companies force riders to agree to standard boilerplate contracts in order to use their product, all of which contain unfair provisions buried in fine print and legalese that most people cannot possibly understand (let alone try to read). Among those provisions are forced arbitration clauses that require that all disputes be resolved in private, secret, company-controlled, rigged systems.
That’s bad enough. But these company also want to escape liability when non-riders (who are not even parties to a rental contract) suffer e-scooter-related injuries. That’s being litigated too. In the California class action Borgia v. Bird Rides, Inc., injury victims are suing Lime, Bird and scooter manufacturer Segway for gross negligence and aided and abetted assaults by “dumping” thousands of scooters onto California streets and into public areas. (In other words, these are not just eyesores.)
: a child “who allegedly has seriously damaged eight (8) of his front eight teeth and has required stitches due to a laceration on his lip” after a Lime e-scooter crashed into him; a woman who “tripped over three (3) Lime Scooters that were left on the sidewalk,” leaving her with a broken left wrist and ring finger; and a woman who “suffered injuries to her left hand, both knees, lower back and pelvis” after “she tripped over a Lime Scooter that was left on the sidewalk right in front of the exit of a coffee shop she was visiting.”
To read more about this colossal mess check out the Center for Justice & Democracy’s , Planes, Trains and Automobiles – and Other Transportation Hazards, which examines both safety risks and disappearing legal rights for commuters and business travelers. Oh, and #EndForcedArbitration!