Chicago Scooter Accident Lawyer
There are many advantages to riding e-scooters in congested cities like Chicago, Illinois.. Electronic scooters reduce traffic and have emerged as a transportation option that reduces air and noise pollution.
However, e-scooters have become a source of concern in many cities that have yet to enforce safety regulations for these vehicles, much to the danger to pedestrians, e-scooter riders, and other motorists. In the 12-month ended June 2021, about 880 accidents involving e-scooters occurred in the US.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent people injured in an electric scooter accident. If you suffered injuries in an e-scooter accident, you could file a compensation claim for your damages through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Complete the contact form or call our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with an Chicago electric scooter crash lawyer. There is never a fee charged unless there is a recovery for you. Our law firm provides advice on the best legal action that fits a client’s specific situation.
Things to Know About e-Scooters and Traffic Laws
As more people ride e-scooters, electric scooter accident injuries have risen. According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has been a 70% increase in electric scooter accidents over the past four years.
These electric scooter accident victims account for about 200,000 emergency room visits of personal injury victims. Other concerns have surfaced as well. Pedestrians and drivers of motor vehicles have complained about the scattered e-scooters in parking areas, sidewalks, and other public areas.
Many states are enacting laws and regulations to resolve these issues. The goal is to allow the continued use of e-scooters while maintaining public safety.
Recently, Chicago joined other large cities and initiated a pilot electric scooter program. This pilot e-scooter program thrilled e-scooter enthusiasts while pedestrians and motorists fretted over the idea of the widespread use of shared e-scooters.
Approved e-Scooter Program in Chicago
The city of Chicago approved issuing a scooter sharing business license to a scooter company that meets the requirements. In May 2022, three companies, namely Lime, Spin, and Superpedestrian, were awarded two-year licenses to run a Chicago scooter-sharing service.
The License Application Process to Operate Electric Scooters in Chicago
The Chicago Department of Transportation and Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (CDOT) in Chicago developed licensing rules for electric scooter sharing companies.
The goal is to determine the companies that can help the city of Chicago meet its goals of maintaining public safety while allowing the use of scooters in the streets.
Evaluation Criteria for the Issuance License for e-Scooter Companies
Under the Scooter License Sharing Ordinance, e-Scooter companies are evaluated based on set criteria, including technology, past performance, and operational capacities. Below are some of these evaluation criteria.
- Cable-Locking technology
- Technology to detect sidewalk riding
- Affordability of service
- Means of educating scooter users on the proper and safe use of the devices
- Implementation of policies that encourage compliance with safety rules
What Is an Electronic Scooter?
In contrast to a manually-operated traditional scooter, an electric scooter is powered by an electric motor. The motorized scooters operate with a speed of no more than 20 miles per hour on a level surface.
Electronic scooters became a source of controversy when, in 2017, Lime and Bird, two popular bicycle-sharing companies, offered services for dockless electric kick scooters.
With an app on a smartphone, an electric scooter rider can rent and unlock an e-scooter and drop it off anywhere without a need to place the e-scooter in a docking station.
The dockless feature of the e-scooter created controversy, as this micro-mobility device is left anywhere and may pose safety hazards to motorists and pedestrians.
Do I Need a License to Operate an E-Scooter?
Riding a scooter requires a special license, though a holder of any class of driver’s license can legally ride mopeds. Scooters are considered motor-driven cycles, requiring Illinois riders to obtain a Class L or M license.
The rider must be at least 16 year old and have completed a driver's education program to qualify for a Class L or M license. Enrollment in a motorcycle rider training program is another requirement for license applicants.
In general, scooters in Illinois must obey the following guidelines:
- A Class L license is required for a person to legally operate a scooter with an engine with less than 150cc displacement.
- A person must secure a Class M license to legally handle a scooter with an engine with 150cc displacement or greater.
- Anyone with a valid driver’s license in Illinois may legally operate a moped.
However, a special license is not required when handling electric kick scooters from e-scooter sharing companies like Lime and Bird. Moreover, scooters are considered motor-driven cycles in Illinois, and scooter owners must:
- Get the scooter registered
- Secure a Class M or L license
- Maintain a liability insurance
- Wear a transparent windshield to protect the eyes
- Put a headlight in place and make sure it is visible from 500 feet away
- Put a tail light in place, and ensure that the light is visible from 100 to 300 feet away
In addition to securing a license, all scooter drivers must heed all signs, signals, and traffic laws to avoid e-scooter accidents. Heeding these laws will prevent a scooter crash and serious injuries.
Types of Scooter Accidents Handled by Our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys
Electric scooters are convenient rides but certainly are not the safest mode of transportation. Below are the five categories of electric scooter accident cases handled by our Chicago e-scooter accident lawyers:
Mechanical failure is one of the most common causes of an electric scooter accident. An e-scooter shutting off in the middle of a ride can happen when the device runs out of battery power.
In some instances, the brakes cannot bring the vehicle to a safe stop, leading to an electric scooter accident, especially when going downhill.
In addition, most scooter companies require riders not to go over geo-fences. The geo-fences are electrical boundaries, and entering or leaving a particular area enables software to trigger a response.
For example, Bird Scooter company draws these maps to control where a customer takes the electric scooter. If a rider crosses one of these geo-boundaries, the computer program will cause the vehicle to stop. The sudden stop can set the vehicle off, resulting in an electric scooter accident.
Improperly Parked Scooters
Pedestrian trips on an improperly parked scooter is a common cause of electric scooter accident. It is vital for companies operating a shared e-scooter business to educate riders to leave these vehicles in specified docking zones to avoid blocking public pathways.
Improper Use of Scooters
Currently, no specialized training is required to ride an e-scooter. The lack of training may result in an electric scooter accident, especially among people who may not be aware of traffic laws regulating the use of these vehicles.
Many e-scooter accident victims visit emergency rooms due to cuts, bruises, and sprains. About 35 percent of these victims suffered serious e-scooter injuries, including broken bones and dislocations.
Another electric scooter accident due to improper use occurs when a rider injures a pedestrian. While most e-scooter-related injuries result from riding scooters, a scooter rider may also crash into a pedestrian resulting in a serious injury.
The number of e-scooter accidents increased in cities that legally allowed this new form of transportation. According to Bird e-scooter company, the following infrastructure improvements can improve road safety:
- Protected bike lanes
- Smoother pavements
- Wider bike lanes and
- Designated e-scooter parking
Accidents Involving Other Scooters, Pedestrians, or Motor Vehicles
Electric scooter accidents may also occur due to electric scooter riders hitting pedestrians. In other instances, a scooter rider gets involved in a car accident, such as:
- Being hit by an opening car door,
- Swerving car
- A backing motor vehicle.
Were you a victim of an electric scooter accident resulting from the shutting off of the vehicle without warning? Consult an injury law firm to determine whether you have an electric scooter accident case to a sudden lack of power.
The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC offer free consultation and handle personal injury cases with diligence.
Accidents Involving Electric Scooters in Other Cities
Riding electric scooters is a new trend on Chicago roadways, raising concern over the possibilities of catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. Below are some accidents involving electric scooters in other major cities in the US:
The electric-powered scooters have caused at least 1,500 injuries in significant cities in the United States, and many of these accidents caused lifelong consequences.
In a study of e-scooter accident victims in Southern California, about 40.2 percent of electric scooter crashes suffered from injuries to the head. About 4.4 percent of these riders were not wearing helmets during the scooter crash.
In California, residents express concern over the increased number of Bird Scooter accidents. For example, a woman in her 20s riding a Bird Scooter suddenly collided with a car at an intersection.
Other injury statistics include 360 scooter-related injuries reported by Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and 250 injuries reported by Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.
Prevention of e-Scooter Injuries
Obeying traffic rules has prevented many e-scooter accidents. Scooter riders and other motorists can avoid accidents by observing the best practices and road safety rules.
Below are some of the reasons why people get injured and what riders can do to keep themselves safe on the streets:
Problem: Injuries to the Head
Separate studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) showed that injuries to the head, such as brain bleeds and concussions, comprise almost half of all reported e-scooter related injuries.
Solution: Wear a Helmet
Sometimes, accidents are inevitable. The best way to prevent head injuries is always to use helmets regardless of whether this gear is required in a particular state. Some companies operating a scooter-sharing business, such as Bird and Lime, offer helmets as a giveaway to riders.
Problem: Reckless Driving
In the same UCLA study, about eighty percent of the participants were injured by falling, while the CDC study shows that 10% collided with a car, 10% hit a curb, and 7% ran into objects.
Solution: Plan Ahead
Scooter riders must make it a habit to plan. While scooter regulations vary in each state, riders must make it as their responsibility to know the rules. For instance, if the traffic policy does not allow scooters on the sidewalk, stay on the road.
Remember to use hand signals when riding alongside traffic. It is also important to wear reflective clothing to be visible to other motorists.
Problem: Defective Scooters
Electric scooter malfunction may happen, from battery issues to speed-control problems. There are multiple reports of accidents due to scooter malfunction, and some of these resulted in lawsuits.
Solution: Conduct a Preride Safety Check
Some scooter defects may not be evident to most people. However, a visual inspection of the device before riding helps determine signs of damage. For example, simply testing the brakes and throttles before going on a ride may help detect issues.
Rental Scooter Accident FAQs
The scooter sharing business raised controversies since deploying for-rent e-scooters to the public. In the following section, we’ve answered some of the rental scooter accident frequently asked questions:
Legal Options for People Seriously Injured in Electric Scooter Accidents in Chicago
Injuries sustained due to an electric scooter accident can be severe and may lead to permanent disability or wrongful death. If you were not at fault for the accident, you could claim compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and other losses.
You can claim compensation through an insurance company claim, a product liability lawsuit, or a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the cause of the accident, a victim of an electric scooter accident could claim various forms of compensation such as:
- Past and future medical expenses related to the injury
- Property damage and replacement
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
For a free case evaluation, call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to file a claim against an electric scooter company. Our injury law firm will offer a free consultation and answer insurance questions and other personal injury matters.
What Is the Financial Compensation for a Scooter Accident?
Like car accident victims, scooter accident victims may recover compensation if another party is responsible for the accident. The victim may seek financial compensation for medical bills incurred due to the accident.
What Are the Common Causes of e-scooter Accidents?
Based on recent studies, the common causes of e-scooter accidents include falls, scooter crashes with other motor vehicles or objects, and being hit by another car. Although some victims also suffered from head injuries and broken bones, these road-related accidents resulted in mild injuries.
Are Scooter Riders in Chicago Required to Wear Helmets?
People who ride a scooter in Chicago are not required to wear a helmet. While safety advocates encourage motorcycle riders to wear helmets, Chicago does not impose any helmet law within its jurisdiction.
Who Is at Fault in an e-Scooter Accident?
A victim of an e-scooter accident may hold the scooter driver or the scooter company accountable. However, the victim may need to prove negligence, and this includes establishing the following:
- The other party or defendant owed the victim a duty of care
- The other party breached this duty of care
- The breach of duty resulted in an accident that caused the victim to suffer from injuries
The e-scooter rider must operate the vehicle safely. Failure to do so may make them liable if their negligence resulted in injuries to other parties.
A Chicago Electric Scooter Accident Lawyer Can Help
Were you hurt in an accident involving an e-scooter collision? If so, consult a scooter accident lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for a free consultation of your personal injury case.
Our personal injury lawyers handle cases of car accidents, including electric scooter accidents. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation and helps you demand fair compensation for your personal injury matter from the negligent party who caused your e-scooter injuries.
You can reach a scooter accident lawyer from our law firm through the contact form or call ourlaw firm at (888) 424-5757(toll-free phone call). All confidential or sensitive information you share with your personal injury lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.