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Are E-Scooters Posing a Danger to Chicago Streets?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Palatine e-scooter accident lawyer

Electric scooter companies have been all over the news throughout the last year as e-scooters have flooded city streets and college campuses, becoming one of the latest versions of “ridesharing.” Much like Uber and the branch companies that followed suit, Bird started the e-scooter craze and inspired many others to follow in their footsteps. Their e-scooters are known as “Birds” and first debuted in Santa Monica in 2017. The devices lay along the road, with no docking system, to allow consumers to easily hop on a Bird, ride it to the location of their liking, and leave it anywhere in the city. A free app allows individuals to pay for the distance they travel. The convenience of the device and enjoyment of the ride draw people to this alternative form of transportation. Since Bird’s success, other companies such as Lime have joined the streets, further growing the e-scooter business. However, people should be aware of the potential for injuries when using these devices.

When Did E-Scooters Come to Chicago?

Like many large cities, Chicago is currently testing the scooter phenomenon. The city is running a pilot program to see if the scooters work well on its streets. In mid-June, 2,500 of the transportation devices were placed on the streets of Chicago, with 10 companies participating in the trial.

The scooters can be used within a 50-square-mile zone on the west side of Chicago. Geofencing technology keeps individuals from riding outside of the permitted area. After four months, the program will be evaluated to see if e-scooters will become permanent fixtures on the streets of Chicago.

Study Shows Significant Injuries Related to E-Scooters

E-scooters offer benefits to large cities. They can reduce the number of cars on the street, eliminate some of the pollution being emitted from said cars, and lessen the number of people riding on public transportation. While these benefits may seem worthwhile, the dangers can outweigh the advantages. A study conducted by the Department of Public Health in Austin, Texas revealed that e-scooters may be more dangerous than they look.

The study analyzed scooter incident reports from nine area hospitals in a three-month period last fall. During that time, 192 people were injured, 160 of which were using the city’s dockless scooters and 32 who were possibly riding on privately owned devices. Almost half of these riders were deemed to have severe injuries. The following are the injuries sustained by these individuals:

  • Bone fractures (excluding nose/fingers/toes): 84%

  • Nerve, tendon, or ligament damage: 45%

  • Spending more than 48 hours in the hospital: 8%

  • Severe bleeding: 5%

  • Sustained organ damage: 1%

Many of the injured riders also showed evidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although none of the riders died during the study period, the injuries were so severe that 88 percent of the injured riders were seen in emergency departments.

Riders are not the only ones at risk. Many pedestrians have been hit and severely injured by riders. There have been cases in which a driver lost control over a scooter, whether because of a device malfunction or a personal mistake, and crashed into pedestrians. The Chicago scooters have a speed limit of 15 mph, making it almost impossible for a pedestrian to move out of the way in time if the rider is coming toward him or her.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Attorney 

Many Chicagoland residents visit the city on the weekends to enjoy the lakefront, while others work in Chicago on a daily basis. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, it can be easy to find yourself injured by an e-scooter accident while taking a joy ride or simply walking the city streets. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we have more than 60 years of personal injury experience and are constantly expanding our types of personal injury cases. If you have been injured as an e-scooter rider or pedestrian, contact our Arlington Heights e-scooter accident lawyers at 847-797-8000 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201902/will-yakowicz/bird-electric-scooter-travis-vanderzanden-2018-company-of-the-year.html

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/chicago-rolls-out-e-scooter-pilot-program/

https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Health/Epidemiology/APH_Dockless_Electric_Scooter_Study_5-2-19.pdf

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/6/12/18630816/electric-scooter-safety-common-injuries-chicago-austin

 

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