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A 91-year-old man was reportedly killed after being struck by a rented e-scooter in Venice, CA. The vehicle was driven by a man with a passenger on board on a sidewalk. Police arrested the man driving on suspicion of DUI, but was later released after posting the $100,000 bail.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Traffic Division, the crash took place just before 10 p.m. on Lincoln Boulevard at Marco Court. The victim was walking on the sidewalk when he was struck. He died at the scene after his head hit the pavement, and he has yet to be identified. The man and woman riding the scooter were both ejected from the vehicle because of the crash and suffered minor injuries.
Throughout Venice, it is illegal to ride or park an e-scooter, dockless e-bike, or minicycle on the sidewalks, including the walk streets and the narrow sidewalks in the canals. Moreover, California law says only one person can be on board an e-scooter. The only time you are allowed to ride an e-scooter on the sidewalk is to park the scooter or get a parked scooter onto the street.
Companies and local officials have acknowledged that sidewalk riding is a frequent problem in Los Angeles and a danger for riders and pedestrians. E-scooter drivers, just as cyclists and automobile drivers, must follow traffic laws — including not driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. California specifically prohibits drunk driving any motor vehicle. Though rare, e-scooter riders who are convicted for DUI may lose their driver’s license.
Riding an e-scooter from Lime or Bird, for example, while under the influence violates the terms of the user agreement. Breaking the user agreement allows Lime or Bird to escape liability from anything that goes wrong. This means the rider will have to pay the costs of a crash out of their own pocket.
In 2018, Los Angeles became the first jurisdiction in the country to obtain a DUI conviction in a motorized scooter case. The 28-year-old defendant pleaded no contest to one count of operating a motorized scooter while under the influence and one count of hit-and-run. He was placed on 36 months of probation, fined $550, required to complete a three-month DUI alcohol program, and ordered to pay restitution to the 64-year-old pedestrian victim. This incident also happened in West Los Angeles.
Pedestrians who are hit by e-scooter drivers have a right to file a claim and/or lawsuit against the person who hit them. Violating any traffic laws and rules is a form of negligence, which can cause accidents. California is a fault state, meaning that somebody has to be found liable for causing an accident. It is also a comparative negligence state, meaning that more than one person can be found at fault for causing an accident. Scooter riders can be found liable for an accident if they are unlawfully riding on the sidewalk and hit a pedestrian or when scooter riders are riding on the street and don’t obey traffic laws, which result in hitting a pedestrian.