Electric Scooters Coming to Chicago – What You Need to Know About Accident Liability
With three weeks left in his term, the mayor of Chicago has announced a pilot program for dockless, motorized scooters on the west side of the city. The purpose of the program is to test the viability of the motorized scooter as a means of transportation around Chicago, with companies like Uber, Lyft, Lime, and Bird participating. The program allows for riders to use a smartphone app to find a scooter and ride it to their destination, then leaving the scooter on the ground when the person reaches their destination.
The pilot program will take place in a designated pilot zone on the west side of the city for four months, starting on June 15, with 2,500 scooters being available to riders. The pilot zone is bounded by Halsted Street and the Chicago River to the east, Irving Park Road to the north, the City boundary and Harlem Avenue to the west, and the Chicago River to the south. This area was selected for diversity in community types within the area. The scooters will be restricted to the roads, can only reach a maximum speed of fifteen miles per hour, and only operated between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. every day. Vendors will be required to remove scooters at night and retrieve any scooters improperly parked within one to two hours of being reported.
Opponents of the scooter program cite issues in other metropolitan areas where motorized scooters have been introduced, including cluttering sidewalks and public spaces. A sharp increase in accidents has also been reported in any cities that have introduced this form of transportation to its residents.
Accident Liability on Motorized Scooters
One of the biggest questions associated with motorized scooter companies is who is responsible when an accident on a motorized scooter happens? The answer is that it depends on the situation. Companies like Lime and Bird try to avoid all liability for accidents in the fine print of their user agreements and encourage, but do not require, riders to wear helmets when riding their scooters. However, if an accident occurs due to a mechanical failure of the scooter, the company could be held liable for damages.
In addition, these scooters are required to operate on the roadways, making it incredibly likely that riders will be involved in accidents with the drivers of larger vehicles on the road. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the driver of the larger car, truck, or motorcycle could be held liable for the injuries caused in the accident. Given the complete lack of protection a scooter provides its rider, the chances that the rider will suffer severe injuries after an accident is significantly greater than operators of larger vehicles on the roadway.
Call or Contact the Office Today
Motorized scooters in Chicago open up a number of new questions about liability for accidents on our city’s roadways. If you or someone you know is injured in an accident in Chicago, call or contact the experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys at Harvey L. Walner & Associates today to schedule a free consultation of your case.