E-Scooters Coming to Seattle and What That Means For Your Safety

The City of Seattle rarely finds itself behind in the use of progressive technology, but that has changed this month as the city becomes one of the few largest places in the nation to implement the use of e-scooters. Seattle has had its reasons for the late start, mostly centered around the concern of safety. Earlier last year, Mayor Jenny Durkan was quick to outline safety measures that would become mandatory before implementation of a pilot program designed to test out the use of e-scooters and the logistics of bringing them into the city.

Now in September 2020, the company Lime will be the first of three to introduce 500 of their e-scooters to Seattle residents, operating under a one-year pilot program with the Seattle City Council, which could become permanent with an expansion of territory if the program goes smoothly. Lime e-scooters will be distributed throughout the downtown area, Central District, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Ballard, Fremont, and University District. The company has also announced they will be launch a training program in hopes of teaching residents how to operate their e-scooters safely.

Besides making use of helmets mandatory and requiring e-scooter users to not operate on sidewalks – two rules that the city will enforce – there are several other areas of safety that bring concern to these new transportation devices. Collisions with both pedestrians and road vehicles are a major concern with implementing e-scooters, as well as improper use, intoxication, and malfunctions that result in injuries ranking from minor to even possibly death.

In the city of San Francisco, for one instance, a hospital’s emergency room chief reported to the New York Times his concern with the increased use of e-scooters, saying “I’m quite confident that we were seeing five to 10 injuries from this a week, and I’m probably underestimating that. We saw one or zero a month before the increase in electric scooters” (Fuicelli 2018). And in Salt Lake City, hospital officials reported an increase of 161% in ER visits since e-scooters were brought into their city, telling the Washington Post that “…nearly half of this year’s injuries were fractures and dislocations of ankles, wrists, elbows and shoulders, as well as several cases of sprains and lacerations. Emergency physicians also treated several head injuries, and multiple patients told doctors they were intoxicated and not wearing a helmet when they were injured” (Fuicelli 2018).

What are some ways to avoid injury while operating an e-scooter?

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Ride with the direction of traffic.
  • Do not drive intoxicated and find an alternative way home.
  • Yield to pedestrians and make your turns predictable through hand signals.
  • Use front or rear lights at night and/or wear a reflective belt.
  • Only park at bike racks; don’t leave your scooter in the way of cars or pedestrians.
  • Ride only on paved surfaces instead of sidewalks, which can be uneven.
  • New users should test ride the vehicle in a safe open space before taking to the road.
  • Check your scooter for defects before hopping on by looking for signs of damage and testing the brakes.
  • Ride solo instead of two people on a single scooter.
  • Don’t drive recklessly or use scooters for unsafe acts like racing or performing stunts.

What should I do if I happen to get injured while riding an e-scooter?

Even with an abundance of safety tips for operating electric scooters, we know that accidents still happen. Whether you are hit by an e-scooter or were injured while driving one, call one of our experienced attorneys to help you with the details of your case. Our legal teams are ready to take your call and get you the justice you deserve.

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