If you live in California, you may have seen a barrage of scooters whizzing by you while you sit in rush hour traffic. As if cars, trucks, bicycles, skateboards and pedestrians weren’t enough for the busy streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, we now have Bird scooters.
These scooters are unlike the Razor scooters you or your kids grew up with. Bird scooters weight about 25 pounds and can reach top speeds of 15 mph. And they’re definitely not child’s play, given that you must be at least 18 years old to ride one and you must use a credit card to reserve one.
Drivers are still trying to get used to having these fast, compact scooters on the roadway–unsure of whether to treat them like a motorcycle that they drive behind, or a bicyclist that they can pass. As a result there have been a number of serious accidents involving Bird scooters.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Bird Scooter accident in California, please contact the accident lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen now for a free and confidential consultation. We are available to answer all of your questions and evaluate your case.
Call us now at 1-800-718-4658.
How Do Bird Scooters Work?
They are compact, electric scooters which were created in China by Bird, a company that is already well-known in Santa Monica and Venice. You can also find these humming vehicles throughout Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Bird also has even placed scooters on the UCLA campus for students’ convenience.
You can use an app to locate a Bird scooter in your area. Once you find one, you must unlock it before you can operate it. You have the option to type in a PIN or scan a QR code. Then, you must enter a credit card and the scooter will then “phone home” to verify the purchase and activate the scooter for use.
The starting fee is $1 and you pay 15 cents per minute to use one. While water-resistant, the scooters don’t operate well in heavy rain. They also have no lights and cannot be driven at night.
When you’re done, Bird claims that you can leave the scooter anywhere. This has resulted in users simply leaving them on sidewalks and even in trees.
They have a range of 15 miles, so while they’re great for quick errands, they may not be enough to get you to work. Bird hires people to pick them up and charge them every night.
Bird’s Regulations For Motorized Scooter Users
Bird has some rules that riders are supposed to follow, but many riders frequently disregard the company’s safe-riding policies. For example, Bird scooter users must have a valid driver’s license, be age 18 or older, wear a helmet, obey all traffic laws and refrain from riding downhill. They also cannot have any passengers – just one person per scooter.
Furthermore, they must be ridden on streets in bike lanes. Riding on sidewalks is a huge safety issue. However, many users break these rules. Kids have been seen riding these scooters. Many do not wear helmets. Some have friends as passengers.
Bird’s Legal Woes
Bird scooters are not without their issues. Many people have been injured by these scooters. Some have suffered broken bones and concussions. One person had a Bird scooter thrown at his car, breaking a window and causing hundreds of dollars in damage. Bird, however, claims no responsibility for these accidents, and victims are angry.
Cities are fed up with the company’s lack of responsibility. The city of Santa Monica sued Bird last year, claiming that it owes $6,000 in fines and has been illegally operating without proper permits. Bird recently settled with the city for $300,000 and was forced to run a safety campaign.
Ticketing Of Bird Scooter Operators
Many riders are violating state laws and Bird is failing to comply with citations. Riders are using the scooters as toys, causing serious accidents in the process. As a result, the scooters have become a menace for police officers, who already have their hands full. They are having to write up citations for those who are using Bird scooters unsafely.
Using Bird scooters can also be a liability issue for users. By signing the company’s agreement, you hold yourself responsible for any damage caused by the scooter beyond normal wear and tear. Therefore, if you hit someone or someone hits you, you’re on the hook. If the scooter is stolen, you’re responsible for the $500 replacement fee.
In attempt to promote safety and accountability for Bird riders, the company has already updated its login process to require users to scan their driver’s licenses. Bird also sends free helmets to users.
Bird Scooters Expanding Access In California
The company began operations in September of last year. Bird has placed thousands of scooters around the larger cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco in a bid to reduce traffic congestion. Bird has plans for expansion. Bird currently has 40,000 active users and plans to start more trials soon.
What Happens If I Have An Accident While Operating A Bird Scooter?
It’s really no different than any other type of roadway accident. If you hit another person or vehicle, you must stop and exchange contact and insurance information. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911. A traffic collision report should also be made.
Contact the Bird Scooter Accident Attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen if you or a loved one has been injured while operating a scooter. We will provide you with a free consultation and advise you of your legal options. We have 26 locations throughout California to serve you.
Call us today at 1-800-718-4658.