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Scooter Accident Personal Injury Laws in New York

To determine the responsibility and liability for an accident involving an e-scooter or e-bike, the way in which the crash occurred needs to be established. If the accident occurred due to the reckless driving of a car or truck driver, then they will be liable for all injuries and damages sustained by riders on e-scooters and e-bikes in New York. On top of this, there are a growing number of incidents of electric-powered two-wheelers causing injuries to pedestrians. In these cases, the drivers of electric scooters and bicycles are held responsible for the injuries caused to pedestrians.

scooter accident

To determine the responsibility and liability for an accident involving an e-scooter or e-bike, the way in which the crash occurred needs to be established. If the accident occurred due to the reckless driving of a car or truck driver, then they will be liable for all injuries and damages sustained by riders on e-scooters and e-bikes in New York. On top of this, there are a growing number of incidents of electric-powered two-wheelers causing injuries to pedestrians. In these cases, the drivers of electric scooters and bicycles are held responsible for the injuries caused to pedestrians.

Electric Scooter Accidents and Preventable Injuries

While e-scooters from companies have become incredibly popular in the last couple of years, they clearly pose a lot of risk as well. The ER departments and doctors across the country have reported a significant rise in the number of scooter accident victims that are admitted to the ER, most of whom with serious injuries akin to those suffered in a car crash. These usually include:

  • Brain injuries and concussion
  • Broken bones
  • Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Facial and dental injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Injuries requiring surgery or amputation

Bike and scooter riders in New York are not the only ones who experience these severe injuries. Pedestrians as well as other motorists can also suffer harm in a scooter accident. A scooter accident can play out in any of the following scenarios:

Pedestrian accidents: There is no doubt that pedestrians are the most exposed people on public walkways and roads, and they face many risks posed by vehicles including e-scooters. From “dockless”, abandoned e-scooters which create trip, slip, and fall hazards, to riders who unlawfully or negligently operate scooters, there are several ways a pedestrian can get hurt.

Motor vehicles: While motorists have the benefit of being protected by their vehicles, they can still suffer considerable harm in accidents caused by e-scooters. For example, a rider who violates traffic laws or negligently operates their scooter can cause the driver to collide or crash into other vehicles or structures.

Bicycle accidents: Since e-scooters are able to reach speeds upwards of 15 miles per hour (mph), they can often be seen in bike lanes. This creates a dangerous situation for cyclists who are struck by careless scooter riders. Cyclists are forced to run off the road into objects or structures, or out of bike lanes and into the path of motor vehicles, or suffer injuries in other types of crashes.

Scooter chargers: There are sharable e-scooter companies that rely on people to pick up the dockless scooters to charge them in their own homes. These people are known as “juicers” and receive compensation for charging the scooters. Unfortunately, they also face the risk of injury in case the charging battery or another scooter component turns out to be defective. We have seen cases of these scooter batteries causing burn injuries and fires.

Unsafe scooters: The e-scooter designers and manufacturers are responsible for making sure their product is safe for public use. If there is any defect with the scooter design or manufacturing, or if the scooter was not repaired properly and malfunctioned, it can lead to an accident and injuries. In these cases, product liability laws come into play, which means the scooter company can be sued.

Vehicle collisions: Since scooters are relatively small and not as noticeable, their riders face risks similar to pedestrians and bicyclists when it comes to being struck by negligent and distracted motorists. In some of the most publicized scooter accident cases, it was the scooter rider that was struck by a car or a truck in parking lots, crosswalks, and other areas of the road. Scooter riders have little to protect themselves against serious injuries or even death in case they ever collide with a 4-wheeler. 

Electric Scooter and Bike Laws in New York

Electric-powered scooters and bicycles were legalized in New York in 2020. The new law has classified e-bikes into 3 categories:

  • Class 1: Pedal-assist bikes that can drive up to 20mph (like Citi Bike e-bikes)
  • Class 2: Throttle-powered electric bikes that can drive up to 20mph
  • Class 3: Throttle-powered bikes that can drive up to 24mph (these are commonly used by delivery drivers)

The following regulations have also been outlined by the new bill:

  • E-scooters and e-bikes that are limited to traveling at 15mph are now legal to operate across the State of New York
  • Any individual riding a Class 3 e-bike must wear a helmet
  • Any individual aged 16 or 17 years must wear a helmet while riding a Class 1 or Class bike
  • Scooter sharing programs are not allowed in Manhattan (but a pilot program is expected to launch in Brooklyn and Queens)
  • If an e-bike rider is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will face $500 fine and/or 15 days in jail

Note: All e-scooters and e-bikes (regardless of their class) are currently prohibited on the Hudson River Park Greenway.

Risk Posed By Motor Scooters

Motor scooters are certainly cost-effective and convenient to ride, but they provide no real protection for their riders since there is no barrier between the rider and the outside environment, unlike a car. Also, since scooters travel at a relatively slower speed, riders are incapable of avoiding a faster-moving vehicle in time to avoid a crash.

Because of the small size of an e- scooter, it is far less visible than other vehicles on the road, both to the pedestrians and traffic. All these reasons contribute to most of the injuries and fatalities that occur in a motor scooter accident in New York City.

Here are some of the most common causes of such accidents:

  • Reckless driving/speeding
  • Blind spots
  • Impaired or distracted drivers
  • Night driving or poor weather (low visibility)
  • Doors opened into lanes of traffic
  • Potholes

How To Avoid E-Scooter Injuries

Whether it’s a car crash or a scooter accident, the risk of broken bones, spinal cord injuries, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, organ damage, internal bleeding, and road burns is similar. Each of these injuries are not only physically and emotionally devastating, but they can also result in enormous medical bills for the patient and their family.

If you ride a motor scooter, keep yourself safe by following these tips:

Follow the rules of the road: Never forget that as a scooter or bike rider, you have less protection than car or truck drivers. So always stay alert, ride defensively, and follow the traffic rules. Be sure that you are allowed to ride the e-scooter or e-bike in a particular area, and always stay under the speed limit.

Always wear a helmet: Depending on what type of scooter or bike you have, it may not be mandatory for you to wear a helmet – wear it regardless! Multiple studies show that wearing a helmet is the best way to protect yourself against fatal injuries in a road accident. 

Who Is Liable In An Electric Scooter or Bike Accident?

It’s a sad fact that those ride inexpensive vehicles – like a scooter – generally have minimal insurance coverage. Another fact is that motor scooter rental companies have deep pockets when it comes to insurance. If your e-scooter/bike was a rental, your attorney will pursue compensation from the company’s insurance. 

Most of motor scooter accidents involve only one vehicle. If your crash also occurred due to fallen branches, slippery road, potholes, or other debris, and you sustained injuries as a result, your county/city might be liable for the lack of street cleaning or road repair.

Thanks to Vespa, Revel, and various other startups, thousands of electric scooters are now riding on NYC roads. With the increasing number of these electric moped sharing 2-wheelers, the risk of accident has also gone up, for scooter riders as well as pedestrians and motorists.

Whether you were injured after being hit by a scooter, or while riding a scooter yourself, it’s best to hire a scooter accident attorney who can negotiate and litigate on your behalf.

Contact A Trusted New York Scooter Accident Attorney Today

Whether an e-scooter crashes into a pothole, another person, or a vehicle on the road, someone is bound to get injured. If you or your loved one has suffered a scooter accident injury, you may have been forced to miss work and bear significant medical bills.

You are probably already in a lot of pain, the last thing you want is to get stuck with a huge debt when someone else’s negligence was responsible for it. Working with a scooter accident attorney in New York can help you file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your hospital bills, rehabilitation, and lost wages.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we have recovered over $1 billion in damages and settlements for our accident injury clients in New York. As one of the oldest and most successful law firms in NYC, we have the skills and resources to provide you best legal representation and guidance, so you have a far better chance of obtaining maximum possible compensation. To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, call us at 212-344-1000 or contact us online today.

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