Bird scooters are all the buzz in Memphis these days. In June 2018, Bird and the City of Memphis reached an agreement to bring the California-based startup to the Bluff City, marking the 15th United States city for Bird. Memphians who want to use a Bird scooter can rent them from Bird’s smartphone app and pick them up and drop them back off at designated spaces, which initially will be Downtown, Midtown, Cooper-Young, Uptown and South City. Proponents of these scooters tout additional mobility options for Memphis residents and tourists. But what happens if you get into an accident while riding a Bird scooter?
Safety Is Most Important
Members of the Memphis City Council are excited about Bird and what it could mean to Memphis. City Councilman Kemp Conrad described the move as “Memphis being an innovative, nimble and busy, friendly city.” Of course, with more scooter traffic comes safety concerns, and the top priority is always to keep citizens safe. For example, one condition of Bird entering Memphis is a requirement that Bird launch a citywide marketing and targeted community outreach to educate the public as to how to safely operate and maneuver these electric scooters.
Safety recommendations are currently in place. For example, Bird requires operators to be 18+ years old. Only one rider is allowed on a scooter at a time. Operators should follow the rules of the road, such as utilizing crosswalks and following traffic signals and signs. Helmets are highly encouraged as well. If someone operator gets into an accident with a moving car or truck, even someone with a helmet is susceptible to suffering a traumatic head or brain injury based on the huge weight disparity between the scooter and motor vehicle.
Types of Scooter Accidents and Theories of Liability
The law on scooter accidents will likely develop over time – this typically is the case when new technology or services are introduced into the marketplace. The most common forms of scooter accidents could include:
- A car or truck crashing into a scooter
- Running into a pothole
- A scooter operator crashing into a pedestrian
- Mechanical failures
Injuries suffered in these types of crashes can be catastrophic. If you are operating a scooter and a motorist crashes into you, you will likely bear the brunt of the impact. To put things in perspective, the average U.S. adult male weighs approximately 196 pounds, while the average adult female weighs 168 pounds. On the other hand, the average new sedan weighs over 4,000 pounds while commercial trucks and 18-wheelers can weigh in at more than 70,000 pounds. It should come as no surprise that car and truck accidents can cause life-changing injuries such as broken bones, permanent disfigurement, paralysis, or even death.
If another motorist crashes into you while riding a scooter, you can pursue that individual for negligence. Negligence, in Tennessee, is defined the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances, and common examples are running a red light, speeding, texting while driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). For accidents involving damage to property and/or injury, Tennessee law requires the police to be notified. It is also important to take photographs at the scene and identify witnesses so your attorney can contact them on your behalf as part of the investigation. If your scooter accident was caused by some type of mechanical failure, it may be necessary to file a product liability claim to protect your rights. Tennessee has laws in place to protect consumers injured by products that are deemed unreasonably dangerous, given the circumstances.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is the largest Tennessee-based personal injury law firm. We have fought for people injured in Memphis, Shelby County, and surrounding areas for more than 25 years. For a free consultation with a Memphis personal injury attorney, call us at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form.