Because of their increasing popularity in cities, we will start to see more and more accidents involving electric scooters. Scooters may be a great step toward reduced emissions, reduced traffic and cleaner city air, but it will take time to adjust to their presence. This blog discusses scooters in Denver and what to do if you are involved in a scooter accident.
Two companies, LimeBike and Bird, placed electric, dockless scooters in Denver in the summer of 2018. City officials quickly became concerned, as the scooters were sometimes blocking public right of ways or otherwise interfering with traffic. Denver ordered the companies to cease operations because the companies were in violation of city codes. The companies were operating without a permit, and the scooters were not being properly operated or stored.
Denver, at the end of the summer/early fall 2018, cleared the way for the companies to resume operations. The City clarified (sort of) its guidelines concerning the scooters, and issued permits to operate scooters to five companies: Bird, Lime, Razor, Lyft, and Spin. Bird and Lime resumed operations right away, followed by Lyft, Razor, and, lastly, Spin. Now all companies with permits have scooters operating in Denver, with a total of 1,750 machines in the city. As scooters become more prevalent, it is important to understand how to ride them and how to park them.
Denver classifies scooters as “toy vehicles,” which means that scooters must be ridden on the sidewalk. Riders cannot use scooters in the bike lanes or roadways. [Note: Denver is discussing changing this regulation in 2019. Please check for updates to the law through this blog or internet searches.] Riders on the sidewalks, however, must yield to pedestrians and give pedestrian’s the right of way. So, if you are riding a scooter, ride it on the sidewalk and yield to pedestrians. And, above all, BE CAREFUL AND WATCH OUT FOR OTHERS!
Denver Public Works has also shared these rules for parking dockless vehicles:
But remember that these scooters can travel up to 15 MPH. A scooter traveling that fast on a sidewalk intended for pedestrians is a real danger. It certainly is not a “toy” to the person who gets clipped, knocked down or run over. Until the rule gets amended, though, that is the law, and we should be prepared.
If you are injured in a scooter accident, the most important thing is that you should document what happened. Call the police to make a report. Get the contact information of anyone else involved. Get the contact information of any witnesses. Take pictures. Make sure that, days, weeks, or even months later you will be able to clearly remember and explain what happened. Without documentation, it will be very difficult to remember or to prove what happened to another person.
Seek medical attention. Again, this assumes that you are, in fact, injured. If you have an incident with a scooter, and no one is really hurt and it’s not a big deal, then do not make a big deal out of it. If you feel like you may be exaggerating, you are. No one wants to help someone who is faking their injuries, and the idea that anyone who makes a claim will get paid is a lie. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Our injury clients who recover money recover the money because they are, in fact, injured. And nearly all of them would give the money back to not be injured.
If you are injured, however, seek treatment! The responsible party may try to argue that if you did not seek medical treatment, you were not really hurt. So it is usually always worth it to get checked out if you think you have been injured in an accident.
Finally, consult with a Colorado personal injury attorney. If you were injured because of some defect on the scooter, the scooter company may be liable. Or, if the scooter company may be liable if it could have taken some reasonable precaution that it failed to take. Scooter companies do, however, include waivers as part of their user agreements. So, it is important to know whether you “waived” your right to recover for your injury.
If someone else on a scooter injured you, that person may be liable. But you will want to know whether there is applicable insurance coverage before you move forward with an action. A Colorado personal injury attorney can answer those questions for you to see if you can recover. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard we offer free consultations, so there is no risk to find out what your rights are.