Recent data shows that the use of e-scooters in Dallas, Texas since city approval of bike share companies have caused a $1.4 million hike in hospital costs since June of 2018. The study by Baylor Scott & White seems to blame the high injury rates on the lack of helmets used by riders of these rentable e-scooters.
Texas law on requiring helmets while riding these e-scooters may be confusing riders while bike share companies are rushing to fill the streets with these e-scooters despite the gaps in safety laws for users of these e-scooters.
For example, the Texas Transportation Code provides that these “e-scooters” are actually classified under the law as electric bicycles. So long as the speed of these vehicles is under 20 mph and weigh less than 100 pounds, they are treated like regular bicycles and regular bicycle safety laws apply.
Texas state laws do not require helmets while riding a bicycle (no matter the age of the rider!). Local city laws may require helmets, but even those tend to restrict required use to persons under the age of 18 years old or younger. Bicycles are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks, forcing riders to the share the road with other vehicles or to break the law and ride on sidewalks due to the lack of bike lanes. These electric bicycle or “e-scooter” riders have to make the same choices when it comes to use and safety as normal bicycle riders, but may be stuck with the dangerous consequences of bike share companies providing inadequate warnings and safety equipment.
These bike share companies, like Bird and Lime, continue to push the market despite lawsuits and cease and desist orders from state and local governments due to numerous safety and regulation concerns regarding these vehicles. These companies know that every state has different helmet laws and yet may not be educating or reminding users to check with local laws and regulations. Each of these companies may not even directly recommend a helmet and only recommend users to follow helmet laws. The lack of headlights and nighttime visibility are additional known safety hazards that these companies are not addressing.
With these vehicles traveling from 14 to 18 mph, it is natural for injuries and incidents to occur with this new mode of micro-transportation. However, since bike share companies are not requiring or providing helmets, it’s clear these companies are putting the onus on riders and on local governments when it comes to safety for these electric bicycles.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed while riding a scooter, e-scooter, or electric bicycle, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.