The city of Los Angeles is known for its chaos and excitement. Documented issues with pedestrian safety, however have been common for years now. And with the sudden advent of e-scooters, you may be wondering about safety as it relates to scooter riders.
For example, many e-scooter riders ride on sidewalks, which is illegal in the city of Los Angeles. This makes riding on a scooter through downtown Los Angeles that much more dangerous, especially given the high concentration of pedestrians in the area. Downtown Los Angeles is not known for its proliferation of bicycle-friendly lanes either, despite the fact that many e-scooters are required to use bike lanes.
Another common risk factor for scooter riders is that so few of them choose to wear helmets. Helmets are required for e-scooter riders, yet Bird and Lime do not actually provide helmets for use. Many riders argue that having to wear a helmet detracts from the convenience factor that an e-scooter represents, as quick, easy, and cheap transportation alternatives.
Given the above-mentioned risk factors, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Downtown intersections are particularly dangerous for e-scooter riders. This is because many drivers are driving at high speeds, are distracted, and don’t always pay attention to traffic signals, much fewer people on scooters.
Scooter accidents seem to be especially common at turn signals, as many drivers are not looking out for pedestrians. Worse, is the reality that e-scooter riders sometimes dart out of nowhere. This isn’t entirely a scooter rider's fault, as regulations that determine where a rider can and cannot ride are murky and not consistently enforced. We strongly recommend using extra caution as an e-scooter rider while riding through the streets of Downtown Los Angeles.
Another common issue for e-scooter riders in dense urban areas is being hit by drivers who suddenly open their car doors. Even though the law states that a driver must always look before opening his or her door, it’s a good idea for e-scooter riders to make sure that the driver sees them.
West Los Angeles has also seen a steady spike in e-scooter related accidents, as well. The e-scooter phenomenon actually began in the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Santa Monica and then spread throughout most of the city. A study which compiled data from September 2017-August 2018, determined that nearly 250 individuals visited Westside emergency rooms with scooter accident related injuries throughout that time period, which is very high.
It was also determined that 92% of these individuals were scooter riders, while the remaining 8% were passengers. It should be noted that scooter riders are not allowed to carry extra passengers on board a scooter.