Now that e-scooters are legal in New York, should you ride one?

| Dec 3, 2020 | Ride Share/Taxi/Transit Injuries |

New York’s law legalizing electric scooters and throttle-controlled electric bicycles went into effect at the end of November. The personal mobility vehicles were already in use by many, although the NYPD was issuing summonses to people who used them. Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a suspension of that enforcement to allow delivery workers to meet demand.

Some lawmakers worried that the vehicles were too dangerous for the congested city of New York. Indeed, there is some research showing that people in other cities have been seriously injured riding e-scooters.

Last year, for example, researchers studied the impact of e-scooter accidents in Austin, Texas. They found that, among 190 riders who reported injuries, almost half had suffered head injuries.

Head injuries can be extremely serious and life-altering. However, the researchers in the Austin study said that many of these injuries could have been prevented if the people had been wearing helmets or taking other safety precautions. Also, a majority of those who became injured were relatively inexperienced in using the devices.

Taking a safe test drive and familiarizing yourself with how an e-scooter operates could help you prevent accidents. Unfortunately, most of the companies offering e-scooters for rent do not provide helmets. You should not take this as permission not to wear one. If you plan to use an e-scooter or ride-share e-bicycle, you should plan ahead and bring your own helmet.

Before you ride, know the rules

All riders of e-scooters and throttle-controlled e-bikes must be over 16. E-scooter riders under 18 must wear helmets. All riders of certain types of throttle-controlled e-bikes must wear helmets regardless of age. If you are in doubt as to whether a helmet is required, do not ride without one. Indeed, you would be wise to wear one regardless of whether it is technically required.

Pilot program for e-scooters to begin in May

According to the New York Times, the city plans to begin a two-year, shared e-scooter pilot program in May. The program will prioritize neighborhoods that don’t have multiple transit options and will exclude Manhattan.

Do a thorough check to protect yourself

If you plan to rent an e-scooter or throttle-controlled e-bike, especially from a ride-sharing company, your safety must come first. Be aware that shared vehicles may sustain damage from other riders. They could also suffer from lack of maintenance.

Give the vehicle a thorough once-over to ensure everything is in working condition. Read all the safety information provided. Take it slow; going too fast while you’re still inexperienced could cause a crash and potentially serious injuries. Bring your own helmet and wear it.

If you are injured, there is a possibility that the company providing the e-scooter or bike could be responsible. However, collecting compensation from a ride-sharing company is far from straightforward. If you need to make a claim, work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you determine if the ride-sharing company was in any way at fault. If they were, they need to be held accountable.