As the Tampa Bay Times reported recently, motorized scooters are set to hit the streets of Tampa in early 2019. Initial reports have indicated these devices could arrive in town as early as February, with the city issuing three requests for electric scooter rental companies to bring their technology to the Tampa Bay area, according to city spokeswoman Ashley Bauman.
These scooters would be permitted in the city on a one-year pilot program set to end Nov. 9, 2019. The companies’ agreement with the city would let patrons ride on sidewalks and other multi-use paths, but not on streets or bike lanes. Brands like Bird, Like, Skip, Scoot, and Spin may be among the potential options to Tampa-area riders. “We’re trying to get ahead of the regulation and be proactive,” Bauman told the Tampa Bay times. “We know they’re coming, they’ve dropped in every city.”
Electric scooters have become popular in large metropolitan areas, including Cincinnati, Indianapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. To unlock these devices, users usually have to download an app on their smartphone and scan a barcode on the scooter to begin riding. Most brands cost a dollar to unlock, with companies charging around 15 cents per minute for customers to continue their trip. Pedestrians are allowed to pick up scooters anywhere they find them and ride them at speeds reaching 5-8 mph. When they are finished, patrons can leave the scooters anywhere, so long as they take a picture proving they are not blocking a public walkway.
Despite the popularity of these machines in many parts of the country, the scooters’ imminent arrival has also prompted some cause for concern. According to Tampa Transportation Director Jean Duncan, the plan is to be ready for their arrival by preparing for it now. “We also want to get ahead of scooter companies just setting up shop and creating issues, as has occurred in other cities in the U.S.,” said Duncan.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman echoed this sentiment earlier this month, tweeting a picture of himself on a Lime scooter in front of City Hall and saying, "We still have a ways to go and some issues to work through in order to get these on our streets, but I remain committed to diversifying transit in the Burg." Clearwater spokesman Rob Shaw, meanwhile, has stated that his city will need to figure out a bike-share program before they adopt any other new modes of transportation, and hopes the city will take its que from the rest of the country, once more official regulations have been implemented.
Tampa is currently set to bring in up to 1800 scooters for their pilot program, allowing no more than 300 in one service zone at a time. The program would set up around 180 parking corals around the city, spread throughout service zones.
While not every city in the west coast of Florida is as likely to adopt the scooter craze as quickly as Tampa Bay, what does seem clear is that this technology is coming to the area very soon, regardless of how you feel about it.
What to Know About Scooter Injuries
Scooter advocates argue that these machines are a fun way to get around, and a boon to cities with troubled transportation systems. However, while that may be true, it is also impossible to negate the negative aspects associated with the rise of electric scooters.
Although some estimates project the global market for electric scooters will reach over $30 billion by 2024, that doesn’t mean they are safe. Scooter crashes have resulted in a rash of injuries in areas where they are popular, with companies like Bird and Lime even facing a class-action lawsuit over pedestrian injures in Los Angeles. With the average scooter traveling at least 3-4 miles faster than the average pedestrian, walkers are almost always going to come out on the losing end in a collision with a scooter. One hospital in Salt Lake City has stated that they have seen a 161% rise in ER visits since the arrival of electric scooters. This is, of course, saying nothing of injuries to riders themselves, who risk serious bodily harm, as well as potential brain damage, if they are not wearing a helmet.
Factors that have been found to contribute to scooter accidents include:
- Unsafe behavior on the part of riders;
- Unsafe behavior on the part of pedestrians;
- Hazardous roads;
- Lack of visibility;
- Lack of barriers between riders and pedestrians/streets;
- Faulty equipment;
- Vandalized equipment; and/or
- Other mechanical issues.
Police are staring to crack down on scooter riders to enforce pedestrian safety. But is this really enough? If you have already been injured in a collision with an electric scooter, you should consider hiring an attorney.
Call Paulsen Law Group Today
At Paulsen Law Group, our Dunedin personal injury lawyers may be able to help you following a scooter-related incident. Our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys have offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Lakeland, and New Port Richey. We also have 15 years of experience serving clients in the west coast area, so you know you’re hiring representation you can trust.
If you have been injured in a scooter collision, we may be able to hold various parties accountable, including:
- Scooter riders;
- The scooter company;
- The city;
- Drivers who acted unsafely;
- Other pedestrians who acted unsafely;
- Construction companies that created a dangerous environment; or
- Other negligent parties.
Don’t let scooter companies drive you off the road and into the hospital. Call Paulsen Law Group today, for accident attorneys who will argue for maximum compensation.
Dial (888) 352-7180 now to speak to an attorney, or contact us online for a free consultation.