Theoretically, it’s a good thing. Riding the Lime electronic scooters or “e-scooters” now available in Fort Lauderdale seems like a fun, affordable, eco-friendly way to get around the city without a car. And you don’t even have to buy one – you can just rent one instead. All you have to do is access an app to find the nearest available scooter, which you’ll then have to pay about $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride. But beware – the activity is not without serious risks for riders and pedestrians.
City commissioners in Fort Lauderdale unanimously passed an ordinance to use the “dock-less mobility units” in July 2018. At the time, officials hoped the electric scooters would offer a transportation alternative to ease the burden on local traffic.
Back in October 2018, California lawyers filed a class action against four e-scooter companies including Lime. According to published reports, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses the defendants of “gross negligence” and “aiding and abetting assault” by:
- Failing to provide adequate safety warnings
- Making defective products available to the public
- Making the products available to the public in spite of known risks
- Allowing them to be left in public streets without adequate warning
Although there were eight plaintiffs at first, the lawsuit alleges that, “scores (if not hundreds) of riders and pedestrians and members of the public have suffered, are continuing to suffer and will to continue to suffer egregious and avoidable injuries and damage to their person and property.”
One of the lawyers who brought the suit also says 100 people purportedly injured by the devices have contacted her. Some were hurt while riding e-scooters and some were pedestrians struck by e-scooters, she says. All of them have sustained similar injuries, including broken bones, head trauma and soft tissue injuries.
In other cases across the country, e-scooter accidents have even resulted in fatalities. One such incident happened in Washington, D.C., where an SUV struck and dragged someone riding a Lime e-scooter. The other incident occurred in Dallas.
Faced with mounting public criticism and concern about e-scooter safety, a Lime representative told the media that “safety has always been at the very core of everything we do at Lime, as is our mission of reducing cars from city streets and making them safer and greener for pedestrians, bike and scooter riders alike.” However, the company does not comment on pending litigation.
In addition to Fort Lauderdale, Lime makes its e-scooters available in Miami Springs, Miami Lakes, Miami Shores, North Miami, North Bay Village, Key Biscayne, Barry University, Johnson & Wales and St. Thomas University. Other companies like Bird, Lyft, and Bolt have also entered the South Florida market and are only expected to grow in popularity.
While these transportation alternatives are affordable, easy to use, and accessible, they also pose a significant threat to injury. If you were injured while riding an e-scooter or if you were struck and hurt by one while you were on foot, the experienced attorneys at Eskander Loshak LLP are here to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.