The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that they have launched a study of electric scooter accidents at the request of Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department. Since early 2018, Austin has seen a rise in the number of electric scooters on its city streets and sidewalks. Dockless scooter companies such as Bird Rides and LimeBike were among the first services to launch in Austin. The companies operate much like Uber and Lyft in that users can locate and rent a scooter using an app on their phone. In fact, Uber launched its own electric scooter company, JUMP, in Austin in December 2018. According to some reports, there have been 66 severe traumas, including 19 head injuries, 38 orthopedic injuries, and 13 facial injuries in Austin since the scooters were introduced to the Austin market.
In November 2018, Mark Walters tripped on a Bird electric scooter that was lying in the middle of an Austin sidewalk. Due to injuries he sustained in the fall, he paid around $2,400 in hospital bills. Mr. Walters filed suit against the scooter rental company and is seeking compensation.
Last week, eight plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit in California against some of the nation's largest electric scooter companies, including LimeBike and Bird Rides Inc. The plaintiffs include three pedestrians who claim to have been hit from behind by users of the scooters. One of the plaintiffs is a 62-year-old man who claims to have suffered a fractured arm and severed bicep after being struck by an electric scooter earlier this year.