If you’ve ever been to Miami, you know that it can be quite crowded and dangerous to be around in. With the amount of heavy traffic and the streets stuffed with Ubers and taxis, it can be almost impossible to think about travelling anywhere, let alone in your own car or vehicle. As such, there have been plenty of attempts to bring about a more affordable and easier way to travel around the city, and just recently, the return of one such mode of transportation has been approved. Welcome back dockless scooters and get ready to be either happy or upset at their return to Miami.
Dockless Scooters: A History
Dockless scooters follow in the same trend as many of the bike stands and electric scooters that many areas have tried to implement. In a much larger fashion, dockless scooters have been tried in Miami before, allowing many to use them as they wish. All one would simply need to do is download the online app to their phone, and then locate and use a scooter to their own will. Then, the scooter can be left anywhere around the city, as long as it is along the roadside.
Although they do have some strong implications as an alternative mode of transportation, it has been touted as an unsafe alternate that can lead to reckless riding and driving. Many cities, such as Hollywood and Miami Beach, have already outright banned the scooters in their areas. This is due to the amount of reckless driving incidents that have sprung up around the cities, as well as even at least one death associated with the scooters.
There have even been Instagram accounts that have documented the scooter issues. They show videos of people riding scooters haphazardly, as well as many injuries occurring, such as sprained wrists and ankles. There are even some instances of the scooters being broken, whether it be by reckless riders attempting to stunt, or by locals that do not enjoy having the scooters around.
Nevertheless, the city of Miami overturned their original rejection of the dockless scooters that they rejected back in June of 2018, allowing companies like Bird, Spin, Bolt, and Lime to start placing their scooters around the city for a six-month pilot program, starting in April of 2019.
As the pilot program has been initiated, Miami will be joining those in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables in allowing such transportation units to be used in the city. Coral Gables became the first city in Florida to formally allow scooters on its streets after initially issuing a cease and desist letter to companies that were unloading scooters on the streets without permission before formally allowing the scooters to be released.
The Dangers of Scooters
Although it is great that new types of transportation are being released into Miami, it doesn’t come without their own risks. People do have a right to be worried, as they do come with responsibilities of the riders. As such, here are some different types of injuries associated with dockless scooters and instances where you may be able to sue for damages:
- Bodily Injury: This may be the most obvious case of liability associated with dockless scooters. Imagine you are a rider and you break a leg due to an improperly functioning scooter wheel. Liability for this may fall on the scooter company. Alternatively, as a rider, you may run in to a pedestrian and seriously injury them. Liability for this may fall on you as a negligent rider.
- Property Damage: Another risk for liability associated with dockless scooters is the damage to the property of another, including the scooter company. If you damage a scooter or use a scooter to damage a third party’s property (such as a parked car), you may find yourself liable to either party for damages.
- Premises Liability: A major legal issue revolving around the dockless scooters is the uncertainty of premises liability. As the scooters can transport individuals anywhere within a certain mile radius, they are bound to end up on the premises of places that they should not be. Injuries from a trip and fall accident or car accidents due to a scooter are all real possibilities. Liability for these injuries may be connected with the scooter rider, the scooter company, the owner of the premises or even the individuals being injured themselves (if negligent). These cases are complicated and are best approached with a specialized legal professional to know your legal options.
- Car Accidents: Accidents with cars, pedestrians and cyclists occur all the time and often lead to serious injuries for all parties involved. As a dockless scooter is similar to a bicycle, it is important for the riders of scooters to follow similar rules of the road. If a rider is negligently riding and causes an accident with a car, or vise versa, liability will likely fall on the party that is more at fault.
Since riders are riding a product provided by the companies themselves, negligence can be a major issue if brought to court with a claim against a company. For instance, if a rider sprains their wrist while riding one of the scooters, or ends up in a wreck after riding on the streets, the company can end up being liable for the injuries if the scooters are found to have improper parts and faulty structures.
Not only that, it does come as cause for concern as they do end up being put down and tossed around, as they have no formal dock. This means that they not only are seen as hazardous, but also become roadside and pedestrian dangers. This means that any accident that can even be slightly linked to the scooter companies may allow them to be liable for damages and injuries.
If you are a rider of the scooters, however, it can be tricky to understand if you are able to sue the companies for damages. As you are riding one of their scooters, and if you download their app, you may be unknowingly agreeing to their terms and conditions that stipulate you must assume the risks of injury before riding and agree to not sue the scooter company. This may shield the scooter company from many liability issues that might come their way.
If you have been injured, or have suffered an accident that involves a scooter, it is important to contact SteinLaw to get all of your legal needs. SteinLaw has a rich and deep history in experience of the legal world, meaning they will be able to help you make a case against these kinds of companies. They will be able to help you curb the amount of loopholes and talks the companies may try to lever against you to stop you from suing them and stop you from getting your rightful compensation. SteinLaw understands that you deserve your compensation and will ensure that you get your fair share from these scooter injuries.