The Dangers of Electric Scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach
Hundreds of dockless electric scooters descended on Norfolk and Virginia Beach this summer. They are nimble, cheap, stylish, and can be hired on the spot via an app and put down wherever you want to go. Although scooters are fun, a series of incidents and injuries over the summer highlights the dangers of electric scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
The dockless scooter revolution has been compared to Uber and Left on two wheels. However, there is a major downside. The hazardous nature of electric scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach became apparent this summer with a spike in emergency room admissions.
Hampton Roads is no anomaly. Other cities that saw an earlier influx of electric scooters also witnessed a rise in ER room admissions due to electric scooters. Riders died in 2018 in Dallas, Washington D.C., and San Diego. At least eight deaths are now tied to electric scooters, states Consumer Reports in a June 2019 article.
In July, Norfolk police investigated an apparent hit-and-run incident after a car hit a woman who was riding a Lime scooter in the city. The driver left the scene.
Police said the 20-year-old rider was lying in the Ballentine Boulevard at the intersection of Middle Town Crescent next to her Lime scooter on July 20.
The woman said she was struck by a gray SUV as she crossed the intersection at the crosswalk. She said she had the right of way when the SUV turned right at the intersection and struck her. The woman was sent to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, WAVY.com reported.
WAVY spoke to some scooter riders who warned traveling on two wheels is not as easy as it looks. Jimmy Brown uses Lime scooters to zip around Norfolk, as a quicker alternative to walking.
Brown admitted to WAVY he does not wear a helmet when he is riding a scooter. Although riders are meant to wear head protection, hundreds of people zip around Norfolk and Virginia Beach without helmets.
Scooter riders are not meant to block traffic and should not be operated at more than 15 mph. Brown told WAVY he reaches speeds of up to 17 mph.
Are Electric Scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach linked to a Spike in Injuries?
Recently, News Channel 3 reported doctors are concerned about an uptick in injuries from scooters in the month since dockless scooters launched in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Dr. Richard Myers, an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Sentara, said hospitals in Norfolk and Virginia Beach hospitals have been busy over the last few weeks treating people who have injured themselves on scooters. He signaled a warning to people who get on electric scooters in the report stating:
“I am concerned about our ability to keep the people of Hampton Roads healthy and safe. Last week alone, I was on-call. I can think of three or four consults that are all related to significant trauma that the patients suffered from on these scooters.”
Of 10 people admitted to hospitals in Virginia Beach with electric scooter-related injuries since May, six required surgery.
The numbers did not include people who reported fractures who were released on the same day.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Associated with Lime Scooters?
Doctors told Channel 3 the injuries they see most commonly after electric scooter wrecks are leg, ankle, wrist, and arm fractures. However, they report potentially more severe injuries like knee injuries, pelvic injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries.
People who get on electric scooters are often inexperienced. They fail to wear head protection or leg, and arm protection. Riders often use sidewalks to avoid roads but fall on cracks, and uneven ground or hit trees and other obstacles. Riders have hit pedestrians. At least two cases of riders being thrown over the handlebars of their scooters were reported in Hampton Roads.
The news channel spoke to Candace Pollard who fell off her scooter when she hit a bump in Norfolk and fractured her leg in three places. Scooter riders have little protection and can easily suffer from fractures.
Tackling the Dangers
The influx of electric scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach has caused a headache for local authorities. Few city councils have drawn up regulations in time for the arrival of these machines, Some cities have banned Lime scooters.
Bird scooters arrived in Virginia Beach earlier this year, sparking concern about conflicts between riders and pedestrians on the Boardwalk. A report in Southside Daily, noted the scooters are almost silent, unlike skateboards and rollerbladers. Lime is now flooding Virginia Beach with its machines.
In 2018, the City of Norfolk impounded more than 50 Bird scooters that launched without permission on its streets. The company has since paid more than $20,000 to get its scooters back.
Talk to an Injury Lawyer About The Dangers of Electric Scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach
The arrival of Bird and Lime scooters in Norfolk and Virginia Beach poses a new dilemma for local authorities, motorists, and pedestrians. It also presents new liability questions. Drivers are not familiar with scooter riders on the streets of Hampton Roads. That’s no excuse for injuring a rider. Also, we have seen cases of reckless scooter riders hurting pedestrians on sidewalks. Companies like Lime and Bird could also be held liable for injuries. Dockless scooters are left on city streets where they may become damaged and defective, causing injuries to riders. The companies are responsible for renting out safe machines.
This is a fast-moving area. It’s important to hire experienced Virginia Beach and Norfolk personal injury lawyers to advise you on electric scooter-related injuries. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as soon as possible.