Liability for New “Bird” Scooters You’ve Seen All Over San Diego

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If you’ve spent any time in the San Diego are lately, you’ve likely seen the new Bird scooters. On street corners all over town, you can find one of these scooters, unlock it, and speed around town. The newest trend in ridesharing allows you jet all over the city for less than a cup of coffee. This is convenient for the riders but causing serious problems for the city.

In fact, there have been several complaints against Bird Riders, Inc., the company responsible for the scooters. The city of Santa Monica charged the company with a criminal complaint after it violated several city ordinances. There have been complaints of people dumping scooters on private property, operating without a license, and issues of operating without a vendor’s license. Business owners have complained that people have been leaving their scooters in front of doorways, on wheelchair ramps, and even in the middle of people’s driveways.

City officials in Santa Monica and San Diego worry that it’s only a matter of time before someone suffers a serious or deadly injury from a Bird scooter. In fact, there was a report in January of a woman running into a vehicle on her Bird scooter and suffering head trauma.

What Are the Rules Governing Bird Scooters?

People operating Bird scooters must abide by the rules of the road and the company:

  • You must have a driver’s license or valid learner’s permit.
  • You must wear a helmet.
  • Bird scooters are single-use only; you may not ride with a passenger.
  • You must operate the scooter on the road, never on the sidewalk.
  • You cannot park on the sidewalk and block pedestrian traffic.
  • You cannot ride the scooter at night unless you have a scooter with proper lighting to alert other drivers to your presence.

Scooter users must also abide by all the other rules of the road by yielding the right of way, abiding by speed limits, and obeying all traffic signals.

A Sticky Position

San Diego, as many other cities throughout the state, is committed to cutting down its emissions. Bird scooters have undoubtedly cut down on the number of car trips and have helped make the city more sustainable. On the other hand, the lack of oversight and the company’s inability to follow city code has forced the city’s hand.

Who Is Liable for an Accident on a Scooter?

Since Bird scooters are still new, they’re an evolving area of law. However, there are several ways in which a person may incur injury on a Bird scooter. Some examples include:

  • A pedestrian collides with a Bird scooter at an intersection
  • A scooter collides with a vehicle
  • A scooter hits a pothole or other debris
  • A pedestrian trips over abandoned scooter on the sidewalk

If you incur an injury while using a Bird scooter or trip over a Bird scooter on the sidewalk, you could have a liability claim against the Bird Rides, Inc. Since the company has already been guilty of other offenses – such as operating without a license – it may also be liable for any injuries that arise from its products. The company has a responsibility to reasonably maintain its scooters and warn riders of the risks. If it doesn’t, it may be liable for injuries that result.

Additionally, you may have a claim against an at-fault driver after a collision, or even a municipality in the case of potholes or poorly maintained roads. Your first step is to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney in San Diego. Contact Liljegren Law Group for a free and confidential review of your legal options.