Like millions of Americans, you’re probably planning your summer vacation. Don’t forget to take some precautions before you leave town. Tap or click here for five travel tips to keep you safe.
Once you visit an unfamiliar city, you might decide to rent a scooter to get around. Technically known as shared mobility devices, they have become a common sight around tourist areas. Like how bicycle rentals work, you simply swipe your bank card, and a scooter is made available.
But what happens when you have an accident? Read on to see how e-scooter rentals work and what you need to know.
Here’s the backstory
The concept of e-bikes and scooters is relatively straightforward. Lined up in a row and locked for security, you pay to access a ride. Of course, there might be a sales representative in the vicinity if you have any questions or need guidance, but for the most part, it’s a self-service environment.
It’s also not uncommon to sign some documentation before getting on your e-scooter and whizzing away. But how often do you actually read through the indemnity forms or go over the contract with a fine-tooth comb? Next time, you might want to do that, as you are liable for almost anything that happens to you or the scooter.
As Kim explains in a recent Daily Tech Update podcast episode, “With spring here and summer vacations on the way, more people than ever will give in to the temptation to ride an e-scooter. But, you’ll be taking all the legal risks.”
Use the link below to hear Kim’s entire thoughts on the subject in just one minute.
Waiver of liability
First off, we need to be clear that the terms and conditions for renting an e-scooter are different depending on the rental company. So always check with the company before using their scooters or e-bikes to see what you are liable for.
With that said, Kim’s correct that you take all the responsibility. A popular rental company in New York City offers a subscription service to rent scooters monthly. But, according to its waiver of liability, you “agree to indemnify and hold harmless” the rental company from all claims.
Another, which last updated its Terms and Conditions page two years ago, states that you agree to “release, discharge and hold harmless” the rental company from all liability for damages.
So, if you fall off, get hit by a car or drive into someone else, the company will simply shrug its shoulders and blame you for it. You will be liable for damage repair or injury compensation.
Last year, a study in the German city of Hamburg found that 89 people were injured in e-scooter accidents in 12 months, with more than half suffering trauma to the head or face.
The same study also looked at injuries in the U.S. and found that as much as 32% of e-scooter injuries resulted in fractures, while 40% of riders suffered head trauma. But a big reason for accidents isn’t the lack of balance or experience.
Many of the injuries occurred after midnight. And as you might have guessed, at least a third of riders were drinking. “Remember, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re invincible,” Kim explains.