Recently, the laws on scooter use in San Diego have been questioned, and with a lawsuit on the horizon, it isn’t difficult to see why. The class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court currently has nine participants. The suit is aimed at scooter company, Bird and Lime, for gross negligence due to accidents causing broken teeth and limbs, cuts and bruises, injuries to the face, and even concussions.
One of the attorneys on the case, Catherine Lerer, has commented on the situation, suggesting that the company didn’t provide appropriate warnings with their products regarding use. Accidents occurred in several counties across California including San Diego, Oakland, Hollywood, Venice, Westwood and Santa Monica.
Photos of injuries have been posted on the website for the lawyers involved in the suit, the images are of a graphic nature and coincide with descriptions of what happened and how. Some people involved in the incidents have reported the need for reconstructive surgery due to injuries related to scooter use.
Why the Scooter Producers Might Be At Fault
While scooters are a commonly used mode of transportation in cities around the world, this suit alleges that Lime and Bird have been negligent in their inability to provide proper instruction for scooter use. Electronic scooters are being driven improperly on sidewalks with pedestrians getting hit. One injured party was performing busker acts on Santa Monica Pier when struck.
This raises the question as to whether the scooter incidents are the fault of the company producing them or the fault of the drivers. Scooters aren’t allowed on Santa Monica Pier where the performer was located. The driver, therefore, broke the law, not Bird and Lime who created the scooters.
Recent Changes in San Diego
Whether due to this lawsuit or general issues related to scooter use, laws are being reviewed and proposals have already been made this month to change scooter laws in San Diego. Some of the changes will include scooter speed regulations, and whether scooters should be allowed on sidewalks at all. There’s also talk about whether scooter users should have license plates, an issue which arose when Peterson, the street performer, was hit. He complained that without a license plate, he had no means of reporting who had struck him aside from visual descriptions made to law officials.
The class-action suit has sparked response from scooter companies, claiming that safety has always been a top priority. Lime, one of the companies involved, have released a statement explaining that thy will be reviewing their scooter instructions, and that they have always been a company involved in promoting safety and a greener planet. They went on to advise that their main mission is to reduce car use on roadways and inspire travelers to choose bikes and scooters which add less pollution to the atmosphere.
Bird issued its own statement suggesting that the attorneys pursuing the suit should focus their attention ore closely on the thousands of deaths caused by car accidents rather than the minor infractions caused by scooters each year. They also pointed toward the climate crisis and made similar points to those offered by Lime.
Whether the suit has real standing or is simply a method to obtain financial gain in the face of personal injuries is unclear. Whatever the case, the future of scooter use in San Diego is up for discussion with government officials, and only time will tell whether the laws will improve usage and pedestrian/scooter relations. It stands to reason that changes to laws on scooter use will make a bigger difference to pedestrian safety than warnings issued by a scooter company.