First, there were roller skates and then, there were skateboards. There were inline skates and then, razor scooters. It seems that every generation has had a fun way to, well, break a bone or two. Today, we have hoverboards and Segways, and there is also another emerging trend in personal transportation: the electric scooter. The electric scooter is much like a push scooter many children have, except it has an electric motor. Many companies around the nation are renting these out, but they may not be properly maintained, and people are getting hurt. The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
One of the biggest electronic scooter companies is based in Santa Monica. This summer alone, the city’s fire department has responded to 34 serious accidents involving the new scooters. During the final 2 weeks of July, 18 patients who were seriously injured were treated in emergency departments.
A San Francisco doctor says that he is seeing as many as 10 severe injuries a week from people who have accidents on their electric scooters.
The three largest scooter companies, operating under names like Bird, Lime, and Skip, and receiving financial investment from companies like Uber among other investment firms, it is estimated that these companies may have values of $1 billion.
Although all three companies say that they offer videos with safety information, Bird is lobbying against legislation in California that would require that riders of electronic scooters wear helmets.
Further, injured riders are discovering that their user agreements do not allow them to file lawsuits – they must resolve disputes through arbitration.
What’s more, is that many of the scooters are maintained by amateurs – advertisements for scooter mechanics sometimes only require a smartphone and a driver’s license and the mechanics watch Youtube repair videos. These inexperienced mechanics are also relying on previous users to flag scooters for mechanical issues.
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