Cities throughout California and across the nation are trying to ease congestion and reduce pollution. Several ride-sharing companies have responded by introducing e-scooters for short-term rentals. While most cites have drafted new regulations concerning the safe use of these vehicles, there have been several personal injury lawsuits filed over serious injuries that riders have suffered.
Recently, there have been reports that several models of these scooters have a glitch in their system that permits the motor to exceed the regulated speed required by many cities. Most municipalities have capped the speed limit at between 10 and 15 m.p.h. However, some riders have discovered a short circuit that could be accidentally triggered that allows the regulator to be bypassed. Consumer Reports tested the scooters and were able to reproduce the malfunction in several models. When activated — either on purpose or by chance — the glitch permits the rider to hit speeds in excess of 20 m.p.h.
A medical professional stated that, after a certain speed, bicycle helmets no longer offer the intended protection. Riders who are traveling at faster speeds face a greater risk of serious injuries. When contacted, some of the companies, such as Lyft and Lime, offered assurances that safety is their highest priority. Other companies did not respond to the concerns over the issue and the possible danger it poses to unsuspecting riders.
According to statistics, there have been eight fatalities associated with these scooters with an additional 1,500 people suffering injuries. Bird and Lime, competing companies in the market, have both been sued for alleged defects in their scooters. Though these machines seem to be a popular transportation option, riders have a reasonable expectation that the vehicles will perform in the manner expected and will not pose a serious danger. California residents who are injured by a defective or malfunctioning product may have a basis for seeking recovery of their monetary damages through a personal injury civil suit.