Mayor Bans Nighttime Use of E-Scooters in Atlanta


scooterAccording to WSB-TV Channel 2 News, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she has directed the Department of City Planning to implement a daily ban of electric scooters from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

What to Know About Scooter Accidents with Cars in Atlanta

Some scooter accidents are caused by drivers who collide with scooter riders. Some riders contribute to the accident that caused their injuries by operating scooters recklessly. Like collisions with bicyclists, fault must be apportioned between the driver of the car and the injured rider.

Lime and Bird were the first companies to rent electric scooters in Atlanta using smartphone apps. Uber, Lyft, and Jump have all joined the scooter marketplace to meet the demand for scooter rentals.

Although scooters may ease congestion on Atlanta’s busy streets, the potential reduction in car accidents may be offset by scooter accidents. Just like drivers of cars, scooter riders are sometimes careless. Negligent drivers and scooter riders both contribute to an increase in emergency room visits caused by scooter accidents. In some cases, however, defective scooters are to blame.

Can Car Insurance Cover a Lime or Bird Scooter Accident in Atlanta?

A new Atlanta ordinance requires scooter companies to maintain liability insurance, but the insurance primarily benefits the city, not accident victims. Fortunately, insurance coverage is available for most scooter accidents. Where to look for that coverage depends on the nature of the accident.

Scooter riders can bring compensation claims against negligent drivers. Georgia law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. If a driver is uninsured or if the accident is a hit-and-run with an unidentified driver, the scooter rider might be covered if the rider owns a car and has uninsured motorist coverage. A personal injury lawyer can review potential coverage and help the injured rider determine where an insurance claim should be made.

Atlanta Scooter Accidents with Pedestrians

Georgia law and Atlanta’s new ordinance prohibit the operation of an electric scooter on sidewalks. Collisions with pedestrians on sidewalks were a primary motivation for Atlanta’s new scooter ordinance. Unfortunately, many scooter renters ignore the law, placing pedestrians at risk.

Scooters also crash into pedestrians on the BeltLine, in city parks, and in crosswalks. While the Atlanta ordinance requires scooter riders to obey traffic laws, riders do not always yield to pedestrians.

A scooter traveling at 15 mph can cause serious harm to pedestrians. Head trauma, fractured bones, and organ damage are among the injuries suffered by pedestrians in scooter accidents.

Scooter riders are liable when their negligence causes a pedestrian accident. Whether the scooter rider will be insured for the accident depends on the circumstances.

Whether a scooter rider’s automobile insurance policy will cover injuries caused by scooter operation depends on the language of the policy. Some policies cover any motorized vehicle operated on a street. Those policies could cover accidents caused by an insured scooter rider.

Other policies limit liability to the operation of a vehicle with four wheels. If the scooter rider has motorcycle insurance, however, scooter operation might be covered. Since the scooter rental phenomenon is relatively new, it is important to review the precise language of an insurance policy that does not expressly cover or exclude the operation of a scooter.

Homeowners insurance does not typically cover injuries caused while operating a rented scooter, although a policy might provide coverage if the rider owns the scooter. Some people have a personal liability umbrella policy that covers scooter operation. Those policies are unusual, but a personal injury lawyer will want to turn over every stone in a search for insurance coverage.

Atlanta Scooter Accidents Caused by Defective Scooters

Lime recently warned its scooter renters that a “technical problem” in its software can cause “sudden excessive braking” during rides. While Lime released software updates that it hopes will correct the problem, scooter riders who have rented from Lime, Bird, and other companies have encountered other issues, including worn brakes, defective wheels and tires, faulty accelerators, and malfunctioning steering mechanisms.

The companies maintain insurance for claims filed by scooter operators who were injured because of scooter defects. The user agreement in the app that nobody reads generally requires injury victims to forego lawsuits in favor of binding arbitration. A personal injury lawyer can determine whether those agreements are valid and can represent injured scooter riders in court, in arbitration proceedings, or in making an insurance claim.

Picture of Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn
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