Electric scooters have taken the country by storm. In the last six months, scooters primarily from three startups—Bird, LimeBike, and Spin—have flooded the streets of South Florida.
The idea behind the scooters is simple: the internet-connected, GPS-enabled scooters are managed through smartphone apps that show nearby available scooters, from which you can select one, scan a QR code on the scooter, tap “unlock” in the app, and start your ride. Once you’ve scooted to your destination, you lock the scooter up again.
The rapid growth of this industry, however, has coincided with significant public safety concerns. Scooter-related accidents have increased significantly across south Florida, and riders have reported a wide range of injuries, from bruises to broken bones to brain damage.
Ashanti Jordan, a 28-year-old south Florida woman, was recently injured when her scooter was struck by a car. She was thrown from her scooter and suffered a fractured skull, a severe brain injury, and multiple fractures to her ribs. She was left in a vegetative state.
This tragic accident is one of many to hit south Florida. In February, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue reported more than 35 scooter injuries involving people ages 14 to 62. Four of those patients had traumatic injuries. Similarly, doctors at the emergency department at Broward Health Medical Center say they see approximately five to 10 cases related to electric scooters every week.
Why are scooter accidents happening so frequently in South Florida?
There are a few factors that can contribute to accidents and the severity of victims’ injuries.
- No dedicated place to ride
There are few clear-cut rules about how and where scooters must be operated within south Florida. When operated on sidewalks, pedestrians become hazards. When operated in bike lanes, bicyclists become hazards. When operated in roads, drivers become hazards.
- Rider negligence
Scooter operators have to use caution and common sense. It’s vital to follow local laws, obey signs and traffic signals. Scooters are often seen as a form of recreation, rather than a form of transportation. As a result, riders fail to do these things. Many scooter accidents have been reportedly caused because riders:
- Take over sidewalks
- Weave through traffic
- Ride against the flow of traffic
- Pass through intersections against the light or without looking, and
- Operate the scooters while intoxicated.
- No helmets
The whole purpose of the scooters is to have transportation “on-the-fly.” Therefore, 99 percent of all riders do not have a helmet present when operating a scooter. This is particularly significant when you take into account that 40 percent of all scooter accidents involve some form of head trauma.
There has been at least one confirmed scooter accident death in south Florida. A man in Fort Lauderdale was killed on April 12, 2019, when he suffered serious brain injuries in a scooter accident.
Do you want to learn more about scooter accidents in south Florida? Have you been injured in a crash, yourself?
Contact Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd online or call us today at 866-460-1990. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer Steve Hoskins, our firm has decades of experience representing clients whose lives have been changed due to car accidents and personal injuries throughout the Treasure Coast.