Electric scooters are growing in popularity all across the United States, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. These scooters are convenient and easy to use, and many people are using them to travel from home to work, to run their regular errands, or even to get some fresh air in parks. Despite their growing popularity, there are concerns about the personal safety of riders and other vehicles on the road with them that lead to some questions about electric scooter use in Maryland, particularly amidst more and more reports of electric scooter accidents each month.
For example, just a few weeks ago an adult man was killed in an electric scooter accident. According to a local news article, the fatal crash happened on a Tuesday evening just after 5 PM. Police say that the man was riding a stand-up electric scooter southbound in the dedicated bicycle lane on the east side of the road. A vehicle was exiting a parking lot and preparing to turn north. As the car turned, the scooter tried to stop, but the man was ejected over the handlebars of the scooter and then got stuck under the car. Medics rushed the man to the hospital, but he, unfortunately, died from his injuries. The full investigation of the accident is ongoing.
This accident—one of many electric scooter accidents over the past year—raises some questions about the safety of electric scooters. Maryland residents who are thinking about riding a scooter must make sure to follow all safety rules and regulations and drive them properly. Maryland State law regulates these scooters under the same code that regulates standard bicycles, meaning they must be operated on the road (not sidewalks) and follow all traffic laws. These laws include, but are not limited to, stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic signals, riding in the direction of traffic, and yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians. Like bikes, they are expected to be ridden in bike lanes when applicable. For maximum safety, riders should avoid busy roads and choose routes with low traffic, even if it makes the ride a bit longer. Additionally, riders should always wear a properly fitting helmet and refrain from wearing earbuds or headphones while driving. Following these guidelines can help prevent tragic scooter accidents from occurring, but in the case that they do, riders should make sure to call a personal injury attorney right away to learn about their legal rights and options in the aftermath.