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Are we ready for electric scooters?

The Albuquerque City Council has approved a measure to allow ride-sharing scooter companies to operate here. The details are still being worked out, but chances are that it will happen in the not too distant future.

While the City Council is undoubtedly aware of the dangers of riding these scooters, the realization may not sink in until a user starts to descend a hill with crossing traffic at the bottom. Moreover, the news from other cities is that the numbers of injuries has risen when the scooters enter the marketplace. Some people have been severely injured, and there have even been two deaths reported. While numbers are unofficial at this time, ER doctors and trauma surgeons are reporting scooter-related injuries as a daily occurrence in cities with ride-sharing scooters.

Disruptive technology that is a danger

The idea behind electric scooters is as a disruption to the usual modes of transportation. Theoretically, these scooters can help consumers easily get from point A to point B without having to park a car, use fuel or add to the congestion.

The reality is that users are not always in control of the scooter, which can lead to hitting curbs, walls, people or other vehicles. Sometimes vehicle drivers do not see the scooter drivers. There have also been instances where the companies that operate the rentals may not properly maintain the scooters -- common malfunctions include stuck throttles and brakes that do not work. One need only do a quick search of the internet to find dozens of reports of rental scooter-related injuries.

Safety precautions before getting on

As with riding a bike or renting a car, some safety protocols can help prevent crashes:

  • As with cars, make sure everything functions properly
  • Wear a helmet
  • Avoid obstacles on the road
  • Avoid exceeding the weight limit of 220 pounds

Legal issues are still evolving

Scooter renters must click to accept terms and conditions of using it. This protects the rental company even in case of death to the rider. Nevertheless, this is an evolving area of law that will likely soon have some cases to base judgments on. Right now, many victims are paying medical expenses out of their own pocket, but that may change. Those injured while riding a rental scooter, or injured due to a negligent rider, are advised to contact an attorney with personal injury expense.

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