E-scooters provide urbanites with a quick, convenient, and green form of transportation, but a class-action lawsuit filed in California last week alleges electric scooter companies and manufacturers are overlooking basic safety concerns in their race to populate city streets with the devices.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by an initial class of eight plaintiffs, accuses e-scooter companies Lime and Bird and others of “gross negligence,” “aiding and abetting assault,” and “public nuisance,” among other allegations, for creating a significant uptick in personal injuries on city streets.
E-scooters have proliferated in cities across the U.S. in recent years. Customers use a smartphone app to locate, unlock, and ride the scooters. When they are finished, they park the scooter and lock the device with the app.
But convenience aside, the plaintiffs who have joined the class-action so far claim that the e-scooters are creating more problems than they solve. According to The Washington Post, three of the plaintiffs weren’t riding an e-scooter but were severely injured when other individuals riding the devices slammed into them from behind.
That’s what happened to plaintiff David Petersen, a 62-year-old California man who was struck from behind by a man riding a Bird e-scooter in June. He told The Washington Post the man fled the scene, leaving him with a fractured arm and a severed bicep, which caused him to miss weeks of work and required a cadaver graft to reattach his torn muscles.
“My arm is never going to be the same, not to mention the five-inch-long scar it’s got now,” he told The Washington Post, noting that his arm has lost rotation and feels stiff. “If Bird is going to profit off the human meat grinder they’ve created in Santa Monica, they should be held responsible for the suffering they’ve caused.”
The lawsuit alleges that Lime, Bird, and other e-scooter companies are dumping scooters on city streets with little to zero training or safety instructions for riders, poor maintenance, and dangerous mechanical failures.
“While acting under the guise of the commendable goals of furthering personal freedom and mobility and protecting the environment, the Defendants, and each of them, are endangering the health, safety and welfare of riders, pedestrians and the general public,” the lawsuit claims.