Bird Scooters: Causing a Nuisance on American Streets | Power Legal Group
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Bird Scooters: Causing a Nuisance on American Streets

Perhaps you’ve seen them. Bird scooters are all the rage, as people young and old use them to zip around congested city streets. They’re convenient and fast, to be sure. But many of the ways in which people are using them are actually illegal. Those illegal practices, which we’ll go more in depth on in a minute, are causing accidents for scooter riders, pedestrians and even other motor vehicle drivers.

What are Bird Scooters?

Bird Rides Inc. is a scooter-rental startup that operates much like Uber: use the app to find a scooter, pay, hop on, ride and leave it when you’re done. In fact, Bird was created by Uber. The startup is relatively new, coming on the scene in California just a year ago. Since then, it has expanded to other cities around the country, growing at an exponential pace.

This $1 billion company has worked aggressively to cover the streets and sidewalks of San Francisco and other U.S. cities with motorized vehicles very similar to Razor scooters but for grown-ups, says Business Insider. Sounds like the company is unstoppable, right? Maybe so, but not everyone is embracing this growing trend.

The Drawbacks of Bird

The benefits are many. You can locate a scooter on any bustling Southern California street, use the smartphone app to pay a small fee, take it for a ride, then leave it wherever you end up. It’s a quick way to get downtown, to that meeting, to coffee with friends, etc. But there are some major drawbacks too and people are getting hurt.

In many cases, riders are hurtling down sidewalks instead of the street, which is where they’re supposed to be riding. Sidewalk scootering is illegal in California. It’s also illegal to rent a Bird scooter if you’re under the age of 18. Yet it’s not stopping teens and even young kids from taking a spin.

And to make matters worse, many riders are opting for a scooter ride sans helmet, which is also not allowed. We all know the risk of riding bikes and scooters without a helmet. Studies show that helmets cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) by half when riders experience a head injury, according to Reuters. Yet other studies show only half of kids and teens wear helmets, and that number takes a drastic nosedive when it comes to adults.

Not only are scooter riders experiencing injury when falling from improperly riding the vehicle or failing to wear a helmet, they are injuring others that cross their path. More and more law firms in the area are reporting increased calls about Bird-related accidents, resulting from malfunctions with the scooters to just plain operator error. Pedestrians are getting hit by reckless drivers on scooters and others are even tripping over the scooters as they are left on the sidewalk. And just as pedestrians and cyclists can be hit and injured or killed by drunk or distracted drivers, so too can Bird riders.

As a side note, bike shop owners are complaining, too, because scooters are seriously cutting into their business.

Bird has responded to some of these criticisms, reiterating their guidelines:

  • Riders are required to upload a valid driver’s license and confirm they are over the age of 18.
  • Riders are encouraged to watch the in-app tutorial to learn how to ride safely and legally.
  • Riders are encouraged to view safety instructions that are clearly posted on each Bird.
  • Bird provides free helmets to any rider that requests one (by their own account, they say they have distributed more than 30,000 free helmets).

Is Bird the Word?

It costs just $1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents a minute to ride. This makes any quick trip around town well worth it. However, the same bad habits that people are engaging in on bikes are translating to these motorized scooters as well and injuries are being reported at exponential rates. As the scooter-sharing trend grows, only time will tell just how dangerous a trend this will become.

Contact Power Legal Group

If you have been injured in a Bird accident, either as the rider or a pedestrian, you need to contact Power Legal Group today at 800-323-POWER for your free consultation. We can help you get the compensation you deserve to treat your injuries.