As electronic scooters grow in popularity, so have scooted-related accidents. Falling injuries, traffic accidents and fatalities are all linked to scooters.
Unfortunately, most riders are unaware that they are opening themselves up to liability when they get on a scooter. Lucian McMahon, senior research specialist for the Insurance Information Institute, told the Associated Press that under a standard insurance policy, there is likely a “pretty significant gap” in insurance coverage.
Gaps in policies
Two companies – Bird and Lime – largely dominate the scooter market in the U.S. Under both companies’ policies, riders relieve the companies of liability in their rental agreement. Anyone who wants to ride must agree to these terms of service.
Some riders may expect their automotive or homeowner’s/renter’s insurance to cover their injuries. However, most standard auto insurance policies don’t cover vehicles with fewer than four wheels. Additionally, most homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies cover traditional bicycles by not motorized bikes and scooters.
Additional protection may be necessary
U.S. residents took 38.5 million scooter trips through sharing programs in 2018, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Scooters are increasing their presence in Salt Lake City, and riders aren’t always aware of the rules. But even when they are, accidents can and do happen. A motor vehicle driver can make mistakes that cause an scooter rider to face a serious injury.
If you plan to ride a scooter, it may be a good idea to call your insurance provider to determine if you are covered, or ask how you can cover yourself if you’re not. Some providers allow you to add an “umbrella policy” that covers most personal injury scenarios.
If someone else causes an accident, however, they should be liable for any injuries you incur. Scooters offer an innovative mode of transportation, especially while the weather is nice. Riders should be able to enjoy themselves without worrying over how to pay to cover an injury.