Florida Scooter Accident Attorney
Motorized scooters have been around almost as long as gas-powered cars have, but the true explosion in the electric scooter market is only a handful of years old, thanks to the creation of bike-sharing smartphone apps tied to GPS-tracked e-scooters. Today e-scooters are a multi-billion-dollar industry. E-scooters have been flooding the streets and sidewalks of the world by the millions, with over five million units sold every year and more than 100 million on the road currently. Meanwhile, bike-sharing apps like Lime, Bird, and Jump are being downloaded by the thousands every day. Some can even be accessed through popular ridesharing apps like Uber.
Unfortunately but perhaps not unexpectedly, the upsurge in e-scooters on city streets and sidewalks has created a profusion of scooter accidents among riders and pedestrians. Collisions, crashes, trip and falls, and other injuries and accidents involving e-scooters are not the same as automobile accidents and need to be handled by an attorney experienced in this type of event. Golf cart attorney Frank D. Butler has experience with many of the less common types of motor vehicle accidents, including pedestrian accidents and scooter accidents. Learn more about the dangers of e-scooters below and how they are regulated in the Sunshine State, and contact our experienced Florida scooter accident attorney if you or a loved one were injured in a crash or other accident involving a scooter.
Risks of Scooter Accidents in Florida
One of the main advantages touted by bike-sharing apps like Lime and Bird is that the scooters are dockless; they can be picked up or dropped off anywhere for maximum convenience to the user. Regrettably, the result is that users do indeed drop their scooters anywhere when they are done with them – on the sidewalk blocking foot traffic, or in the street near the curb. This carelessness creates a high risk of pedestrians tripping over scooters, which can cause serious injuries including facial lacerations, fractures, concussions, back injuries, strains and sprains. Abandoned scooters in the road can get run over by cars, or drivers can get into crashes suddenly swerving to avoid a discarded scooter.
Another danger associated with e-scooters is that they can be ridden by almost anyone who either owns a scooter, rents one, or downloads the app from Lime, Bird or any of the other companies operating in Florida cities. Riders do not have to be licensed and can be as young as 14. Inexperienced or immature riders increase the chances of a crash with a vehicle or pedestrian, which can be serious or fatal to the riders or the people they hit.
While people who ride their scooters on the sidewalk risk collision with a pedestrian, those who ride in the street face an even greater risk of getting hit by a car or “doored” when a vehicle occupant suddenly opens their door into the path of an oncoming rider. All sorts of negligent driving or riding behaviors can lead to these serious crashes, including:
for Vehicle Drivers
- Drunk Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way
- Texting While Driving/Distracted Driving
for E-Scooter Operators
- Drunk Riding
- Reckless Riding
- Riding on Uneven Surfaces
- Failure to Yield
- Listening to Music on Earbuds at High Volume
Florida Laws Regulating E-Scooters
Electric scooters top out at around 20 miles per hour. That makes them too fast for sidewalks and too slow for the streets. Where is it best to operate a scooter for the safety of riders, motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists? Florida state law so far has largely failed to answer this question.
Before 2019, e-scooters were not legal statewide, although they could be allowed on a city or county basis via local ordinances. Now, scooters are legal throughout Florida, but cities retain the authority to regulate them or even ban them outright if they choose.
Currently, all major cities in Florida allow scooters. Jacksonville was the last major city to approve them in 2020 with a pilot study enacted under Ordinance 2020-26-E. That ordinance was patterned on the scooter safety laws enacted in Fort Lauderdale in reaction to several scooter accidents there, including a fatal accident. These laws require operators under 16 years old to wear a helmet, and scooters must be equipped with daytime and nighttime reflectors. They may be ridden up to ten miles per hour on sidewalks and up to 15 mph on surface streets. Both cities also stipulate where scooters can be dropped off; they can’t simply be dropped anywhere. Meanwhile, Panama City Beach is an example of a municipality that has outright banned scooter rentals.
Compensation in Florida Scooter Accidents
Like motorcycle accident victims in Florida, injured scooter operators do not have PIP coverage and must sue the negligent driver who hit them. On the other hand, a pedestrian who is hit by a scooter should be able to access any applicable PIP coverage. The laws can be confusing, and it’s important to act quickly to secure your rights to compensation as an injury victim. Especially if you have to prove another party’s negligence, the assistance of a skilled attorney can be essential to the success of your claim. The Florida scooter accident attorney Frank D. Butler can help you understand your claim and pursue the appropriate avenues to get you the right amount of compensation for your injuries.
Contact The Law Offices of Frank D. Butler Today
If you have been injured in a scooter accident in Florida, or if you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal crash, call The Law Offices of Frank D. Butler to discuss your claim with an experienced and successful Florida scooter accident lawyer. Your call is free, and there is no legal fee charged until after we are successful in recovering compensation for you.