Electric scooters have popped up in cities across the U.S. over the past few years. Several electric scooter rental companies operate in Maryland. However, concerns and confusion over electric scooter laws, insurance policies, and liability have also been flagged. These issues may affect those who have been injured in Maryland scooter accidents in the state.
A Consumer Reports survey found that electric scooter riders were confused about whether to ride e-scooters on streets or on sidewalks, and 27 percent were not sure of the traffic laws they should follow. Although generally riders are supposed to ride in the street, many streets are not built to accommodate them, and it can be dangerous. There is also a question of whether scooters are covered under the insurance policies of the rider and/or the injured person. Electric scooters typically are not covered under auto insurance policies, though they may be able to be added to auto policies or other insurance policies. Maryland enacted MD HB748 in April 2019, establishing that a low-speed electric scooter is considered equivalent to a bicycle under the Maryland Vehicle Law. The scooter must meet the state’s definition, including only being capable of operating at a speed of up to 20 miles per hour.
Severe Eye Injuries Seen in E-Scooter Emergency Rooms Visits
A small study from the University of California San Diego reviewed instances of facial injuries caused by electronic scooter accidents over the course of a year. According to one news source, the rates of hospitalization and surgery were high among such cases. The researchers involved in the study were surprised by “both the severity and incidence of the injuries.” After an e-scooter accident, over 90% of the patients had facial fractures, and 24% needed surgery. About 75% of the patients required to be hospitalized. About 20% had intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding beneath the skull. Injuries included eyelid lacerations and retinal hemorrhage. None of the patients had been wearing helmets.
A medical student involved in a past study on scooter injuries said that e-scooter users do not understand the risks of using them. Many states do not require the use of helmets for those over 18. Scooter rental companies suggest that riders wear a helmet, but it is not required. The study also found that 74% of scooter riders with facial injuries were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One scooter rental company said that it sent notifications to riders regularly to warn them that riding while drunk was dangerous.
Have You Been Injured in a Scooter Accident?
If you have been injured in a scooter accident or another type of motor vehicle crash, you may be able to bring a claim against another driver, the rental company, the city, or another party. The Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, have two decades of experience representing accident victims in the Baltimore region. We take pride in advocating for the rights of victims, and understand the complex issues that can arise in personal injury cases. Contact us today at 1-800-654-1949 or through our online form to set up a free consultation.