Trendy e-scooter rentals appear to be a major hit in Denver, particularly for tourists. But the fun-filled nature of these green-friendly two-wheelers may not have riders thinking about the risks associated with buzzing along busy streets.
It's important for riders to understand that e-scooters are no longer just toys. They are street-legal machines, and many models can hit speeds of 30 mph or higher. In terms of driving Denver streets, that means these modes of transportation are traveling at the same rates as cars, SUVs, trucks, and motorcycles.
E-scooters carry many of the same risks as motorcycles
It may also be prudent for e-scooter renters to think about them in the context of a motorcycle. While you may not be able to head out on the highway and cruise at 65 mph, scooters are usually smaller than many Harley Davidson, Indian, and Yamaha motorcycles. The significant difference is that bikers often have loud mufflers to alert cars and trucks about their presence.
Automobile drivers often fail to see motorcycle operators, which puts bikers at higher risk of severe or fatal injuries from accidents. E-scooters run silent, and that can prove deadly.
The Denver area averages more than 20,000 crashes annually, and that figure was consistent even before e-scooter rentals became all the rage. To say buzzing around city streets with a smile on your face is risky would be something of an understatement.
E-scooters may malfunction
Another risk facing those who share e-scooters is the potential for malfunctions. A recent report coming out of Washington, D.C., where e-scooters are an all-out craze, noted that renters experienced unexpected breakdowns. Batteries that appeared fully charged died suddenly while in use and accelerators were finicky to manage. One e-scooter renter was stunned to discover the breaks didn't work properly.
While more than 40,000 people reportedly lose their lives in car crashes each year, emergency room care is on the rise for e-scooter accidents. Keep in mind, it is often not the person operating the two-wheeler causes the crash. The problem is often four-wheel drivers not seeing or hearing you, as well as critical malfunctions that lead to serious injuries.
It's also important to note that many e-scooter rental companies require operators to sign a waiver that states the use may be risky. Some also include language that drivers agree to "play" anyway. Driving on city streets is in no way a game. Such language can mislead drivers about the genuine dangers of operating a machine equivalent to an automobile or motorcycle, but with fewer safety measures in place.
If you or a loved one have been harmed while renting an e-scooter, it's important to consult with a personal injury attorney. Too many people are being led to believe sharing e-scooters is not inherently dangerous.