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Whether you love'em or hate'em, those rentable eScooters are everywhere these days. In many cities across the country, these rentable electric scooters are strewn about sidewalks and are causing real problems for the pedestrians that choose not to scoot.
Fortunately, because we lawyers are the heroes the public needs (though may not want, or know they need), one attorney has decided to take the eScooter scourges to task, filing a class action lawsuit against both Bird and Lime, the two biggest eScooter renters. The case alleges that these companies are negligent (if not criminally-so) and have "draconian" end user agreements that seek to limit the companies' liability for accidents and injuries caused to and by their users.
These eScooter companies have a smart business model. The basic idea is that a rider pays a few bucks to use an eScooter for a only few minutes, and doesn't have to worry about parking it, maintaining it, or charging it. It's only rented from a point A to point B trip. Employees of the companies pick up the ones that are low on battery from wherever one is left and drop off freshly charged ones at various locations.
The lawsuit alleges that these eScooters are a real danger to pedestrians and the riders. In addition to pedestrians being struck by speeding scooters, pedestrians also have to navigate around parked scooters on the sidewalk (which often fall, or get knocked, over) that present a serious tripping hazard. Also notably, while the companies require that users be 18 or older, their actions belie policies as the eScooters are often dropped off near high-schools.
One of the plaintiffs in the recently filed class action alleges that she tripped over one of these scooters on the sidewalk and suffered multiple fractures. Meanwhile, the scooter companies refuse to accept any liability when it comes to injuries to riders or pedestrians.
The companies steadfastly maintain that they are not responsible for the conduct of their users.