Pennsylvania is just one of many states to embrace the presence of electric scooters. More than 65 cities across the country, including Pittsburgh and soon Philadelphia, have adopted the use of e-scooter rideshares. The scooters allow commuters and tourists to traverse the city streets without driving a car. However, the scooters have raised controversy regarding accidents and liability.

Public nuisances… and public safety hazards?

The scooters provide much-needed convenience for people who need a quick, inexpensive ride for those who don’t wish to drive. But other residents feel that they are a nuisance cluttering up the streets. Because the e-scooters are so new, most cities have few regulations in place regarding their use.

One of the biggest concerns regarding scooters is safety. Scooters, like motorcycles, can be difficult for other motorists to see. Some scooter riders disregard the few regulations that cities have in place, choosing to weave between lanes, ride on sidewalks, cut through crowds and ignore other traffic rules. This can lead to severe injuries—for riders, pedestrians and drivers. In California, residents have even been injured by tripping over errant scooters.

Who is liable in a scooter accident?

Scooter accidents have complicated issues regarding liability. Anyone who suffers an injury because of an e-scooter has the right to seek compensation for their damages.

A rider who was behaving negligently—for example, disobeying a city’s traffic laws—is typically liable for the other party’s injuries. Conversely, if an e-scooter rider is injured, they may take action against the driver or other party that caused the accident.

Injury victims may also have the option of taking legal action against the e-scooter company, for allowing their customers to behave in a manner that caused an injury. Scooter companies are also liable for any improperly maintained scooters that caused accidents. The city may also be partially liable, for not enforcing adequate safety regulations or for not providing safe riding conditions.