Electric scooters are appearing in an increasing number of cities in the U.S. and they’re causing a great deal of problems. The ridesharing rentals provide an inexpensive means of transportation, but they’re also creating significant difficulties for motorists and cities, primarily due to novice riders, inconsiderate users, and confusion over insurance coverage.
Helmets aren’t provided with rental scooters, even though approved DOT helmets are the best protection against a traumatic brain injury. People renting scooters often discover that their insurance policies don’t cover damages if they’re in an accident that causes property damage or injury to another.
Even if scooter drivers are wearing helmets, that’s small comfort for a pedestrian that’s assaulted by an inexperienced or inconsiderate driver. Scooter riders are often unsure of where they can legally operate the machines, thereby placing themselves, motorists and pedestrians at risk.
The average scooter will quickly accelerate to about 15 mph. It can take first-time users by surprise and novice riders have been known to unwittingly dash into traffic with disastrous results as they frantically try to slow down, only to come to an abrupt stop instead. Fatalities have also been reported.
A major problem facing cities is the “clutter” of abandoned scooters. Responsible riders turn them back in at the scooter station at the end of their ride. Unscrupulous individuals will ride them until the charge dies and then abandon them on lawns and sidewalks, creating clutter and blocking pedestrian traffic.
All a person needs to rent a scooter is a state ID and a credit card. Many states require scooter riders to have a driver’s license or obtain some type of certification. There are no such requirements for rental scooters. Before renting a scooter, it’s best for individuals to check existing policies to ensure they’re covered and explore the specific rules and regulations governing collision, liability and medical coverage associated with a scooter rental.
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