Scooters in Indiana have become increasingly popular for recreation and commuting, but Indiana scooter injury lawyers are concerned we’ll be seeing an uptick of crashes, particularly those involving scooters with cars or trucks. Although the bright yellow bicycles of the Pacers Bikeshare have been integrated for the last four years (slated to double in size in the next two years), urban vehicle operators still aren’t used to seeing people on the even smaller-profile scooters gliding along the roadways and through crosswalks.
Bird electric scooter-share’s dockless scooter service in Indianapolis launched in the spring along Mass Ave. and also in Irvington, relying on smartphone apps to track and bill users. Licensed adult locals and visitors alike have been making use of them for leisurely downtown tours in Fountain Square or City Market or a breezy ride along nearby bike paths like Pennsy Trail, though Bird scooters are actually advertised to those needing a boost on that “last mile” of their trek or short commute when it’s slightly too long to comfortably walk. They were so popular, the Indianapolis scooter market got competitive when Lime (formerly LimeBike, now in 50 cities globally) launched its Indianapolis scooter share, pricing itself low and muscling its way in to the Hoosier market.
Our injury attorneys in Gary and Munster (who also serve Indianapolis) see the biggest safety fear centering on the fact that scooters are going to be interacting with often crowded downtown traffic. Riders are instructed to use the bicycle lane (staying off sidewalks and roads) and park well clear of public roads (a directive users aren’t strict about following). All this puts riders at risk of an Indiana scooter crash.
There has already been at least one Indianapolis scooter crash involving a serious injury. The Indy Channel reports a 21-year-old was on his way to work after renting a scooter, when he struck a pot hole (he says he didn’t notice it until it was too late), slammed on the brake and was launched face-first onto the pavement. He broke his nose, required 15 stitches, and is likely to need plastic surgery. His mother said he wasn’t wearing a helmet. While the services offer helmets free to those who request them, reporters stated the process for getting one wasn’t entirely clear. The company has said it encourages helmet use. Based on what we know of collisions involving other vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians, those on scooters would be wise to follow these suggestions.
Other Midwestern and a few Southern towns have experienced some growing pains in trying to incorporate scooters into their urban traffic landscape. Nashville, for instance, issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bird, which temporarily removed some 400 scooters in service amid safety concerns that the rides were being dangerously parked in doorways and on ramps and sidewalks. The company is in talks with the city about establishing ground rules and regulations.
Bird electric scooter owners say they want to have a positive working relationship with the city and other nearby businesses, advertising a “Save our Sidewalks” pledge to help avoid scooters parked on the walkway. The company also has said it won’t invest in adding more scooters in rotation until they reach the point every scooter is getting at least three rides daily (or equivalent). Users can also earn a bit of extra cash as Bird “chargers,” rounding up scooters set aside by users at random sites.
There are a host of similarities between Lime and Bird (mostly marketing a few price differentials and a couple unique special features). Lime says it “encourages” users to obey traffic laws, avoid the sidewalks, pay attention, wear a helmet and park somewhere reasonable to avoid public annoyance or city official ire.
If you are injured in a scooter accident in Indianapolis or elsewhere in Indiana, our dedicated personal injury lawyers in Gary are committed to helping.
Indiana Injury Attorney Burton A. Padove handles personal injury claims throughout northern Indiana, including Highland, Gary and Hammond. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
Another electric scooter service arrives in Indianapolis, Aug. 30, 2018, By Ethan May, The Indianapolis Star
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