Electric scooters have become popular all across the country. These scooters are used on college campuses for students, downtown for business personnel and in entertainment districts for quick transportation that was previously a walk, Uber or cab ride.
According to Oklahoma’s News 4, city leaders in Oklahoma City approved an ordinance to place rules on electric scooter companies. The ordinance would require companies to have revocable permits defining the areas where they would park the scooters each day before 7 a.m. The city also has the right to require the licensee to use GPS technology creating a virtual boundary, which would prevent the scooters from being used in prohibited areas.
Officials say an ordinance for riders was already in place:
- Riders can’t use a scooter on a sidewalk or trail. Bike lanes and streets are OK.
- Riders must follow normal traffic rules, like stopping at stop lights and stop signs.
- Riders must always yield to pedestrians. Watch for pedestrians coming out of buildings or from between parked cars.
- Riders are encouraged to park the scooters close to the curb, or next to a bike rack. Please don’t block the sidewalk, especially in places that would make it difficult for a person with disabilities to use the sidewalk.
- Riders are encouraged to follow guidelines and instructions from the scooter business.
Authorities say the ordinance prohibiting scooters on city sidewalks will be enforced due to the potential hazard to pedestrians. Officials say users also must have a valid driver’s license in order to operate a scooter on a roadway.
Scooters cannot pass other vehicles between lanes of traffic, and you cannot swerve in between moving vehicles. “If citizens choose to use the new scooters, we ask that they please utilize bike lanes when possible. If a bike lane is not available, we ask that they please operate them safety on a city street and abide by all traffic laws,” the police department wrote on Facebook.
In October, Oklahoma State University notified scooter rental companies they must remove their vehicles from the OSU-Stillwater campus.
What Are The Concerns?
According to CNN.com; Bird, the Los Angeles-based company that leads the market on e-scooters, makes it clear you’re on your own if you kiss the pavement (or an oncoming SUV) while riding Bird’s tiny, flat black strip of metal suspended between two rubber tires. By renting a Bird, you’re agreeing to “fully release, indemnify, and hold harmless” the company for injury, death, property damage and other losses.
And as a Los Angeles woman who fractured her arm in two places recently learned after a Bird accident, neither your medical insurance nor car insurance may cover your medical bills; in her case, she told LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian, each insurer said the other should pay. Bird’s rental agreement explicitly warns riders your automotive insurance may not cover your Bird accident.
Doctors report seeing more people with injuries from electric scooters showing up in their ERs. While most come in with broken bones and road rash, some are deadly serious. Bird requires riders to be 18 or older, to wear a helmet, have a driver’s license, stay off the sidewalk, and refrain from double riding. Many ignore this, with predictable outcomes.
Reported by Tulsa World; Nick Doctor, chief of community development and policy for the city, and the city conducted months of research consulting with electric scooter and electric bicycle companies, including Lime and Bird, and transportation experts to come with the policies outlined in the ordinance presented to councilors before bringing the business to the Tulsa community.
In short, the city plans to treat those vehicles like it does bicycles. In fact, the ordinance creates a specific classification of vehicles — called Small Vehicles — that includes bicycles, electric bicycles and electric scooters.
So electric scooter-sharing companies like Lime and Bird, for example, will have to play by the same rules as the city’s new bike-share program, This Machine. And users of those services will all be expected to follow the same rules. Doctor said the city has embraced small-vehicle transportation as a way to fill the “first mile, last mile” gap between the city’s bus system and customers’ final destinations.
In the first three days they were in Tulsa, 1,700 riders used Lime scooters. They completed 4,400 trips and traveled a total of over 5,400 miles. You can find Lime scooters by using the app, because all the scooters have GPS and apparently plenty of people have been able to find them over the weekend.
What To Do If You Are Hurt?
If you were hurt or a loved one died due to another’s negligence, please call 866-510-0580 or contact us online to share your story. Carr & Carr Attorneys at Law is proud to represent injury victims and their families from Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas via offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK, and Springdale, AR.
At Carr & Carr, our personal injury attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis. This means we don’t get paid until we successfully resolve your case. We also provide free consultations to help you understand your legal options before making a decision about whether to hire a lawyer.