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LOS ANGELES – The introduction of electric scooters to the Los Angeles area has left many pedestrians in fear for their safety as multiple individuals have tripped over or been struck by these scooters, in addition to two deaths that occurred as a result of an electric scooter accident in Washington, D.C. and Dallas.
Catherine Lerer of McGee Lerer & Associates in Los Angeles commented on the situation, as her firm is representing eight individuals impacted by alleged incidents in a suit filed in late October against scooter rental companies, including Bird and Lime.
"The people calling us are riders and pedestrians. The pedestrians are injured when they either trip over scooters that are lying across the sidewalk or a scooter rider slams into them on the sidewalk, and the riders that are injured are not because of rider negligence, but because there was a malfunction with the scooter," Lerer told the Northern California Record. "The most common calls that we're getting regarding malfunctions fall into three categories: failing brakes, throttle sticking and scooters dying mid-ride."
Lerer explained that the scooter malfunctions are likely due to the fact that the scooters are not being properly maintained or examined.
"The companies are reactive instead of proactive; they only inspect a scooter if a rider has proactively notified Bird or Lime through the app that there is a problem with the scooters and this is in contradiction to the user manuals from the manufacturers, which state that the scooters should be inspected before every use," Lerer said. "Bird and Lime know that these scooters are subject to tremendous abuse by the public and that they are in lousy condition, yet they don't inspect them as often as they should and instead put that burden on the rider."
Lerer explained that the shift of the burden from the companies to the riders is unfair, as riders cannot be expected to know whether or not their scooter is in proper working order or not and that more reform will be needed before this problem can be solved.
"Scooter companies need to be providing better instruction to the riders about how to use them. Scooter companies need to be inspecting them after every usage," Lerer said, also mentioning that the parking of them is an issue as they are left in the way on sidewalks, take up multiple parking spots and more.
Lerer said that she has been receiving calls every day regarding an injury from pedestrians and riders.