Dockless Scooter Accidents

In San Diego, Los Angeles, and other cities throughout Southern California, dockless scooters from companies such as Bird and Lime are offering an alternative method of transportation in urban areas.  In many cases, the dockless scooters can be picked up and parked anywhere within the city. While their convenience makes them an appealing alternative to other methods of transportation, the scooter companies can put riders at risk of an accident.

What Is a Dockless Scooter?

The law defines a dockless scooter as a 2-wheeled device with handlebars, a floorboard, and something that riders can stand on.

California Regulations

In California, dockless scooter use is regulated under Section 21235 of the Vehicle Code. Assembly Bill No. 2989 was approved by the governor and filed with the Secretary of State in September 2018. The new law went into effect January 1 lifting the helmet requirement for adult scooter users.  The new law requires only scooter operators under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. It also enables local authorities to authorize the use of dockless scooters on highways, at a speed of up to 35 miles per hour or higher if the vehicle is operated within a Class IV bikeway, otherwise known as a protected bike lane or cycle track.

In addition to the requirements above, Section 21235, following the latest amendment, forbids dockless scooter riders from operating the device unless:

  • It is equipped with a functional brake suited for dry, clean, level pavement.
  • It is operated within designated speed limits appropriate to a local jurisdiction.
  • They have a properly fitted, fastened bicycle helmet if under 18 years of age.
  • They do not carry items preventing them from reaching the handlebars.
  • They avoid holding on to other vehicles on a road.

State law forbids riding a dockless scooter on a sidewalk, except to exit or leave a property adjacent to it. Scooters also can’t be used on highways with the handlebars raised so high, the user must raise their hands over their shoulders to reach the steering grip.

For a more detailed perspective, view the regulatory language available on the California Legislative Information website.

Dockless Scooter Riders Risk Injury

Scooter riders face a variety of risks. If you’re inexperienced, you may not know what to do in an unexpected situation. And, no licensing or training are required to prove your competence and understanding of dockless scooter safety. If you panic, a hard stop can cause the front wheel to lock and throw you off the scooter. Not wearing a helmet, riding against traffic or on sidewalks, with more than one rider, or being intoxicated or otherwise impaired are dangers that can be avoided.  Although localized teams hired by scooter rental companies such as Lime and Bird perform regular maintenance on their companies’ fleets, the companies rely heavily on riders to flag and report issues. Oftentimes those reports come too late or not at all and those mechanical issues, such as faulty brakes and sticky accelerators, have already led to injury.

Main Types of Dockless Scooter Claims

  • Dockless Scooter vs. Road Defect (Design or Maintenance Problem)
  • Dockless Scooter vs. Auto
  • Dockless Scooter Product malfunction (Design or Manufacturing Problem)

To discuss a possible dockless scooter personal injury claim Contact Gruenberg Law.  San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys for over 25 years.