It’s no secret Washington DC has a massive traffic problem. Rush hour spans several hours every morning and night. The first attempt to alleviate traffic congestion on DC streets was the bike sharing program where one can rent a bike to get from one area of Washington DC to another without worrying about parking or crowded roadways. However, DC residents needed more options.
In February of 2018, the motorized scooter rideshare program started, and we now have 400 available to residents and tourists. Motorized scooters come with their own pitfalls, though, and our D.C. attorney has seen how liability becomes convoluted when it comes to serious injuries and motorized scooter rentals.
1.How Motorized Scooter Rideshare Works in DC
Unlike bike-sharing programs that involve docking stations, motorized scooters can be found on marked curbs across the city. The scooter company and program require operators to park responsibly which means out of the way of vehicles and on specific sidewalks. When you decide you want to use a scooter, you use the app’s GPS connection to find the one nearest you, then pay $1 to unlock it and an additional 15 cents per minute used. The biggest issue users are experiencing in DC is access. Other places have thousands of scooters available, but DC is still in the pilot program with 400 for the entire city.
You automatically enroll in a digital contract when you use the app to locate and rent a motorized scooter. This contract goes over many details including that you agree to drive responsibly by using bike lanes and not riding on sidewalks and will park the scooter in a properly marked area.
In DC, you must have a valid driver’s license and insurance to operate a motorized scooter on city streets. The scooters are also required to do emissions tests every two years.
2.Safety Hazards & Increase Likelihood of Accidents on Motorized Scooters
Motorized scooters can travel a maximum of 15 miles per hour, which is more than enough to cause serious injuries in an accident with a pedestrian or motor vehicle. These rentals don’t come with helmets, so unless you come equipped with your own helmet, you’re at an increased risk of traumatic brain injuries just like motorcyclists.
The safety and maintenance of these scooters are also completely reliant on the company as they need to locate and check them for necessary repairs. When you rent a motorized scooter in DC, there’s no way for you to know how the previous rider used it. Your scooter could be damaged before you hop on. You’re also more likely to be involved in an auto accident because you’re sharing the road with vehicles.
3.Liability in a Motorized Scooter Accident in DC
Establishing liability in motorized scooter accidents can be tricky. The company can be found at fault if they were grossly negligent such as failure to maintain the scooter. However, the digital contract you agree to complicates things even more as they may not be responsible if you choose not to wear a helmet. If the accident involved a car, truck, or SUV, you’d most likely need to file a claim with that driver’s insurance or perhaps your own.
Contact Our D.C. Accident Attorney Today
If you were involved in an accident with a motorized scooter, please contact our attorney in DC today at (202) 554-1449 for a FREE consultation. Portner & Shure serve clients in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland.