07 May 2019

Tampa’s electric scooter invasion offers a glimpse of the dangers to come

Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez

Electric scooter

There’s an old urban legend, that in 1895, the first two automobiles arrived in an Ohio town, promptly drove down Main Street, and crashed into each other. The new transportation technology was poorly understood and unregulated and, not surprisingly, resulted in disaster.

True or not, that story is analogous to what’s currently happening in Tampa with electric scooters.

On April 4, 2019, Tampa city council members approved a year-long pilot program that will make electric scooters an option for residents. More than 2,400 electric scooters will be scattered across the city, and users will be permitted to ride up to 15 mph along Tampa’s streets. While the new mode of transportation is affordable, convenient, and a green alternative, electric scooters are wreaking havoc on early-adopter cities.

Data on the dangers of electric scooters

Since the electric scooter invasion is relatively recent, studies are just now emerging that show the real dangers of electric scooters within the community. In a research report published by the University of Utah Health’s emergency room, the hospital saw a 161 percent increase in the number of visits involving scooters within a three-month period.

Similarly, Consumer Reports has released a study that shows for every major city that has adopted electric scooters, approximately 1,500 people will be sent to the emergency room with severe, scooter-related injuries. Across Florida, electric scooters have been involved in a growing number of traffic fatalities.

Tampa’s guidelines for electric scooters

To help keep residents and tourists safe, Tampa has developed additional guidelines for the year-long pilot program. They are as follows:

  • Scooters can only be operated within the designate area. The electric scooters will be geo-fenced and will glide to a stop if the rider goes outside of the perimeter.
  • Scooters can only be operated by users 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license.
  • Scooters must be accompanied by a 24-hour liaison and 1-800 hotline in the event of an issue

What’s missing in Tampa’s electric scooter pilot program?

While Tampa’s efforts to improve the safety of electric scooters is a step in the right direction, there is one critical safety feature that is being treated lightly. Helmets are not required to ride electric scooters and head injuries are becoming a significant concern.

More than 40 percent of injuries linked to electric scooter use involve head injuries, and more than 95 percent of riders don’t wear helmets. In a study published in JAMA Network Open, electric scooters are becoming a major public health and safety issue.

What to do after a Tampa electric scooter accident

With the invasion of electric scooters across Tampa Bay, accidents are unfortunately bound to happen. The first thing you should do after a scooter accident is to seek medical care. No matter whether you think you were hurt or not, you should always have a medical professional perform a complete evaluation of your condition, so you can be sure that you did not suffer an injury that might involve delayed symptoms. A delay in medical care may affect your wellbeing and your claim, if you choose to take action.

Another valuable step you can take is to take multiple photographs of your accident from various angles and distances. If anybody saw your accident, get names and phone numbers of potential witnesses.  

In some cases, victims may be contacted by insurance companies for the negligent parties. Avoid talking to anyone about your accident until after you have hired an attorney. Many insurers aim to get victims to make statements that damage their injury claims unknowingly. Similarly, scooter renters who have been injured should not speak with the rental company or anyone contacting you on their behalf. They aim to release themselves from liability by putting all the blame on you. Contact an attorney to protect your rights.

Contact a Tampa electric scooter accident lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries as a result of an electric scooter accident in Tampa, we are ready to put our resources, experience, and unrivalled accident expertise to work for you and your family. We understand the seriousness of scooter accidents and we can help protect your family’s future.

We are here to help you. Contact us by phone at 813-877-5548.

We have been serving clients throughout the Tampa Bay area since 1999. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Nadine Diaz, our firm is recognized as a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®.

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