Bird, Lime and Other Electric Scooter Sharing Services
Electric scooters from companies like Bird and Lime are all the rage. People of all ages can be seen zipping around downtown streets and trendy neighborhoods. But rules regarding the safe operation of e-scooters are still developing, with many cities still playing catch up. For example, as of September 11, 2018, the City of Columbus passed emergency rules that ban e-scooters from being driven on sidewalks. The Columbus rules also allow for only one riders at a time and for two scooters to ride side by side at a time.
Common sense and common courtesy suggest that the best practices for riding e-scooters should mirror those for riding bicycles. Always ride in the street or designated bike lanes. Always wear a helmet. And, don’t park scooters on the sidewalk where they block people’s ability to walk.
Adding to the uncertainty surrounding e-scooters is whether and what kind of insurance may apply in the event of a crash. If you are driving an e-scooter and cause a crash, will your car insurance cover your liability? Many auto policies exclude coverage for non-owned vehicles or vehicles with less than four wheels. What if you are struck by a car while driving an e-scooter? Will your underinsured or uninsured motorists pay for the losses the driver’s coverage does not? The answer will likely depend on the the particular language used in your insurance policy. When in doubt, confirm with your insurance agent in writing whether you would be covered.