Rentable electric scooters were first introduced to Indianapolis on June 15, 2018, when dockless scooter sharing company Bird distributed the vehicles around the city. Indianapolis Monthly reported that a little more than a week later, Bird competitor Lime quickly followed suit and the city suddenly had more than 800 dockless scooters.
The city initially responded by sending cease and desist letters to Bird and Lime, and Bird initially refused to comply with the order before agreeing to remove the scooters one week after Lime did so. The Indianapolis Star reported on July 16, 2018, that the City–County Council of Indianapolis and Marion County approved regulations allowing the companies to legally rent dockless electric scooters and bicycles in Indianapolis.
According to the Star, ridership rules, such as not riding on sidewalks or trails, are to be enforced by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, while the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services will be responsible for identifying code violations such as scooters being illegally parked. WRTV-TV reported on September 10, 2018, that after Bird and Lime scooters returned to the city, the station could not find any tickets that had been written against scooter riders, and the police department did not have a timetable as to when it would begin writing tickets. WXIN-TV reported that the IMPD and the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services said they would “be taking a more educational approach before they begin issuing any fines.”
The Star reported that the licenses granted to Lime and Bird limited the companies to 1,500 scooters each for the first 30 days. Bird requested permission to operate up to 6,000 scooters, while Lime requested permission to operate 1,800 scooters, according to the Star.
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a scooter accident in Indianapolis? You may be entitled to compensation if your crash was the result another party’s negligence. Hankey Marks & Crider fights for injury victims all over the greater Indianapolis area. Call (317) 634-8565 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free consultation.
Indianapolis Scooter Laws
Any person 18 years of age or older who has a valid driver’s license can rent a scooter in Indianapolis. The cost of a scooter rental is usually a $1 fee and then 15 cents for every minute the device is used.
The scooters usually become available at 7 a.m. They typically have a top speed of 15 miles per hour, and they can usually travel up to 15 miles.
An advisory from the city of Indianapolis noted that scooters should not be ridden on sidewalks or trails, including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. The advisory also stated that people should not use scooters while controlling animals and scooters should not block entrances or exits.
Additionally, the advisory makes clear that all scooter riders should wear a helmet and follow all traffic laws. It also notes that only one user should use a scooter, and scooters should be parked upright near a bike rack or docking station, left at least four feet away from an unobstructed passageway.
Scooter rental companies collect scooters at the end of each day to charge and redeploy them to locations in the city. Users can face $25 fees for parking scooters irresponsibly.
Electric Scooter Accident Claims We Handle
Electric scooters are new to many people, and there are bound to be more than a few accidents as individuals learn how to operate them. The types of accidents that people are involved in can vary by specific circumstances, and victims could be the riders of scooters, as well as other people.
In general, the most common kinds of accidents that cause injuries to scooter users include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents — Because scooter riders are required to ride in the street in Indianapolis, they must share the road with cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles. Many drivers are also only now beginning to appreciate the presence of scooters and may not yet understand how fast the devices are actually traveling. These types of issues can often lead to collisions with scooters while a driver is turning, going through an intersection, or otherwise crossing a scooter’s path. Scooters are far smaller than passenger vehicles, so the devices are usually destroyed in these collisions and riders are susceptible to possible catastrophic injuries.
- Defective Scooters — Scooters are complex devices. Bird and Lime have an obligation to make sure their scooters are all working properly when they collect the devices and redeploy them. Any scooter accident that is caused by a scooter malfunctioning because of a failure to maintain the scooter could make the rental company liable for damages. If a crash is the result of a defectively designed or defectively manufactured part, then that part’s manufacturer could be liable.
- Dangerous Road Conditions — The city of Indianapolis requires scooter riders to stay off sidewalks, but the city also has to make sure that streets are then safe to use. A malfunctioning traffic signal, pothole, or simply a poorly designed roadway could be the basis for a claim against a governmental entity when a scooter accident is caused by a particularly dangerous street.
Many scooter accidents also involve collisions with pedestrians. In these instances, it may be possible that either the scooter user or the pedestrian is injured, possibly both.
Scooter crashes involving pedestrians can quickly become complicated because the parties involved could have entirely different views as to who was at fault. Depending on the facts of the case, it is possible for a pedestrian to have a legal claim against a negligent scooter rider just as a scooter user could have a legitimate action against a negligent pedestrians.
Indiana Code § 34-51-2-6 makes the Hoosier State a modified comparative fault state when it comes to negligence claims. In other words, a victim whose contributory fault is greater than the fault of other parties is prohibited from recovering any damages.
Even when a person’s contributory fault is less than 50 percent, the damages they are awarded can still be reduced by their degree of negligence. That means a scooter accident victim who is awarded $100,000 but is found to be 25 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $25,000 and ultimately receive $75,000.
Any person involved in a scooter accident should file a police report to ensure that all of the necessary information is collected and recorded. Victims should also be sure to contact a personal injury attorney before speaking to any insurance company.
Types of Scooter Injuries
For most people, the seeming injury risk of scooters is relatively low. The devices have speeds that are relatively tame and the general use of scooters does not seem like it involves many dangers.
Nobody ever expects to be involved in an accident though. While scooters seem perfectly safe, the people riding them are often exposed to serious injuries simply because of their inherent lack of protection.
Some of the most severe scooter accidents can result in such injuries as:
- Muscle strains
- Road rash
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
These types of injuries often involve staggering medical costs. Additionally, victims can also face major struggles in returning to their places of employment. Some scooter accidents may result in fatal injuries. In such cases, family members could file wrongful death actions against a negligent party.
Contact an Indianapolis Electric Scooter Accident Attorney Today
If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a scooter accident, you will want to make sure that you immediately retain legal counsel. Your attorney will discuss your rights and legal options, will investigate the cause of the accident and gather critical evidence, and will assign liability to the parties responsible. While many of these claims settle out of court, it may be necessary to take your case to trial if the insurance company fails to offer you a full and fair settlement. When the unthinkable happens and you are hurt in an electric scooter accident, turn to a legal team that is not afraid to fight for the compensation you are owed for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
[firn-name] has more than 75 years of combined experience helping injury victims. You can have our lawyers review your electric scooter accident case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (317) 634-8565 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.