While this new mode of transportation is convenient and fun, it may also be a personal injury case waiting to happen
In July, Bird Canada introduced Ottawa citizens – and Ottawa personal injury lawyers – to the world of e-scooter transportation. E-scooters have been a popular mode of transportation in places like California since 2017 when the company Bird first launched their scooters in Santa Monica. Bird Canada launched a successful pilot project in Ottawa that resulted in city approval for two more e-scooter companies; Roll and Lime. Since then, these three companies have scattered approximately 600 scooters throughout designated areas in the city, located via an app through GPS mapping. The downside? Like any other form of transportation, operating an e-scooter comes with injury risks. Could we see a spike in Ottawa personal injury cases as they become more popular?
Are e-scooters inherently dangerous?
The fact is that e-scooters are motor vehicles, so while they are not inherently dangerous in and of themselves, they do pose a risk to your personal safety similar to other types of motor vehicles. According to a report from The Toronto Star, since the launch of e-scooters in Calgary, The Alberta Health Services has tracked the number of e-scooter related injuries in hospitals. They say that e-scooter injury rates are almost 600 times higher than using other forms of public transportation from the data they collected. There have been no deaths associated with e-scooter accidents in Canada so far. Ottawa personal injury lawyers say that collisions and falls are the primary dangers of operating an e-scooter, resulting in varying degrees of personal injuries.
Naturally, accidents involving e-scooters are likely and may result in serious injuries. An Ottawa personal injury legal claim may be filed for compensation. When filing such a claim, there may be cases where the accident’s causation is related to the design or malfunction of a scooter. Before you can use a scooter, there are terms of service that the rider must agree to when they download the app or create an account. The plaintiff and their Ottawa personal injury lawyer will have to read through the agreement thoroughly. Many large corporations will use specific terminology and include sections in their terms and conditions that will limit their liability in concerns to personal injuries. Give yourself time to read through these terms of service so that you know your legal rights before riding.
How to ride safely and reduce Ottawa personal injury risks on the roads
Together we can reduce the number of Ottawa personal injury cases related to e-scooter accidents by taking safety precautions when riding. While it is not a requirement, riders are encouraged to wear a helmet to prevent the possibility of traumatic brain injuries. Make sure you understand how the scooter works before attempting to operate it, and start slowly – get a good feel for how sensitive the breaks are and how to use them. Take time to practice riding your scooter in an empty parking lot or quiet street before your commute. Go slowly, keep both hands on the handlebars, and obey traffic laws. For more information on provincially regulated safety requirements for e-bikes and scooters, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s website.