Electric powered scooters have caused huge consternation for city authorities wherever they have popped up. Seven e-scooter companies in Nashville have now been told that they cannot operate, following the first death of a scooter rider in the city. The decision has proved controversial, and it may only be temporary. Mayor Briley says that a limited number of scooters and scooter companies may be allowed to continue providing services if the council brings in more sensible regulations to make both scooter riders and other city residents safer.
What are e-scooters?
Most Nashville residents will have noticed the rapid increase in the use of electric scooters around the city, especially in and around the CBD. The concept of scooter hire is a simple one and there are as many people who extol the virtues of e-scooters as there are those who wish they were gone. E-scooters are like foot powered scooters except that are propelled by an electric motor capable of speeds of up to 20 mph. The various scooter companies that rent them out make them available to anyone with a credit card and the appropriate app. The renter finds a scooter they want to use in a place where it has been left, uses the app to unlock the machine, then uses it until he/she wants to leave it somewhere, anywhere. E-scooters are often seen left in some of the most unusual places as well as more obvious places.
The pros and cons of e-scooters
The benefits touted are fairly obvious: it is a simple, non polluting form of transport that gets people around a congested city easily and quietly. For those who are not keen on using a bicycle, and want something cheaper and more convenient than a rental car, a taxi or public transport they have opened up a whole new option to get around.
So far, so good. The downside has also been fairly obvious and there have been many cities around the world, certainly not just in the U.S., that have been perplexed as to whether to continue allowing scooters or just outright ban them. The main problem is that the scooters don’t really fit into an obvious vehicle category. They are fast enough to use on a public highway, especially when the traffic is only slow moving anyway. They are small enough to fit on to a sidewalk. No surprise then that many scooter renters ride them wherever they feel like it, annoying and sometimes scaring motorists and pedestrians alike.
Nashville’s first e-scooter fatality
Other problems that have surfaced include the fact that renters are not necessarily familiar with using scooters and often have accidents. Most accidents have involved scooter riders being hit or falling off their machines. There have also been some accidents in which scooter riders have hit other people, mostly pedestrians, or their erratic riding has caused a collision. It is the latter that resulted in the current ban. 26 year old Brady Gaulke ran into a Nissan Pathfinder on May 15th this year and was killed. It was found that his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and he was not wearing a helmet. It was determined that the fatal accident was the young scooter rider’s fault and not the fault of the Nissan.
While Gaulke is the first Tennessean to be killed while riding a scooter, it is certainly not the first serious accident. It was Gaulke’s family that contacted Nashville’s mayor and pleaded with him to ban the scooters.
In other cities, there have even been accidents caused by faulty scooters. Lime, one of the bigger scooter companies, was forced to recall many of its scooters last year because of a fault that caused the scooter to suddenly stop, causing riders to fall off.
Time will tell whether the city council will impose a permanent ban or come up with better regulations for e-scooters that allow their use in the city but under safer conditions.
If you, or member of your family, have been involved in an accident with an e-scooter rider and have been injured, or you have been injured by a negligent driver while renting a scooter, you may be able to claim compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney at the Keith Williams Law Group in Nashville to discuss your injury and your chances of pursuing a personal injury claim. You can phone the Keith Williams Law Group at (615) 313-3999.