California has seen a recent proliferation of bike and scooter share services, the largest and most ubiquitous being Lime and Bird. These services allow customers to use a smartphone app to unlock a vacant Lime bike or scooter or Bird scooter. Once unlocked, the customer pays for service and can take the bike or scooter wherever they like, using the smartphone app to lock the bike and end the fare. Lime and Bird allow customers to leave their bikes and scooters wherever they like, so long as they are out of the way of road traffic and pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks.
Why Has There Been So Much Legal Action Taken Towards Bird Scooters And Lime Bikes?
While this new and popular alternative transportation service is convenient and fun, it has also caused problems throughout California, even leading to a few lawsuits and some aggressive personal injury lawyers. Some of the common reasons for these legal actions include:
- Injuries caused by improperly discarded bikes and scooters. Unfortunately, some customers have been leaving their used bikes and scooters in front of businesses, on sidewalks, in parking lots, and other places where they become bothersome or even hazardous to others.
- Injuries from malfunctioning scooters. While bicycle problems are relatively easy to detect before you get going, a scooter may have a defect that’s not so easy to spot. An equipment malfunction such as a brake failure can lead to serious injuries.
- Traffic-related injuries. Bike and scooter riders must use care when traveling in bike paths or near motor vehicle traffic. Bikes and scooters are much smaller and harder to notice than cars.
- Bicyclists and scooter riders have the same duty of care on the road as motor vehicle drivers. When riders act negligently or fail to follow the rules of the road they can easily cause serious accidents.
A Bird or Lime bike accident can cause serious injuries including broken bones, deep cuts, contusions, head injuries, and even spinal cord injuries. Anyone who plans to use a Bird scooter or Lime bike in the future should follow the companies’ guides on proper use and safety. A few best practices can ensure anyone who uses these services can do so with fewer risks.
Safety Tips for Bird and Lime Bike
The first way to stay safe on any scooter or bike is to wear a helmet. California law requires you to wear a helmet while riding a motorized scooter, but the state only requires riders under the age of 18 to wear helmets while riding bicycles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury in the event of an accident, so it is wise for riders of all ages to wear appropriate helmets while riding bicycles. Bird will actually send you a free scooter helmet if you cover the cost of shipping.
The next way to safely enjoy Lime bikes and Bird scooters is to carefully read the instructions before use. Although riding a bike is relatively intuitive for most adults, riding a motorized scooter can be a new experience for many, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with the vehicle before hitting the road.
Test the controls before operating a Bird scooter. Start slowly and make sure the brakes work correctly before moving to more congested areas. If you are using a Lime bike, test the brakes and pedals and check for any signs of damage before your ride.
Finally, obey the traffic laws while using a Bird scooter or Lime bike. You must be over the age of 18 with a valid driver’s license to use a Bird scooter or Lime scooter. When riding either a bicycle or scooter, you must always move with the flow of traffic and keep to bike lanes whenever possible. Signal for turns and use extra caution around intersections.
Lime and Bird are fun and innovative services, but they are not without their drawbacks. By exercising care and riding safely you can minimize the risk of an accident or injury. If a defective bike or scooter causes an injury, contact a reliable product liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.