Attorney Allan Siegel said it is time for Washington, D.C. leaders to address the dangers and liabilities of electric scooters during a recent interview with WJLA News.
News Anchor Lisa Fletcher contacted Siegel to discuss the city’s current e-scooter laws and liabilities for her investigative report: E-Scooter riders have little, if any, protection in case of injury or accident.
“Popular e-scooter rental companies like Bird and Lime are required to carry liability insurance to cover their own negligence, but those policies do not cover riders, and riders are not guaranteed coverage,” Siegel said. “In fact, the digital rental agreement riders must sign generally relieves the e-scooter company of liability.”
He added, “If you injure yourself tripping over an e-scooter on the sidewalk, get hit by one, or are hurt while riding one you can only recover against e-scooter rental companies and their insurance carriers if the company is found negligent of failing to maintain their scooters safely.”
Essentially, unless you can prove the e-scooter company was negligent, you have no insurance protection, Siegel said. And, if you hurt someone else while riding a scooter, your personal insurance company won’t likely cover it, meaning all costs will come out of your pocket.
Further regulation and insurance coverage needed
Many people in the city welcome the convenience, affordability and environmental friendliness of e-scooters. However, their ability to travel at speeds up to 30 mph, coupled with their skyrocketing use by inexperienced or negligent riders also make electric scooters a serious hazard.
“If ride-share companies like Lyft and Uber must carry liability insurance in case the driver injures someone, similar regulations should apply to electric scooter rental companies,” Siegel said.
He added, “It’s time for the city council to address this public safety issue and require e-scooter rental companies to provide liability coverage if they want to continue operating in our communities.”
Visit our Electric Scooter Accident resource page to learn more about Washington, D.C.’s e-scooter laws, types of scooter accident injuries, insurance implications, safety tips and common causes of electric scooter accidents.