Lime has become the most recognizable brand in the nascent scooter-sharing boom. Owned and operated by Neutron Holdings Inc., the Lime app gives users access to the company’s fleet of e-scooters. Lime and its competitors, most notably Bird and Spin, have caught on quickly in urban areas such as Washington DC. Their service is economical, widely-available, and provides an unmatched level of convenience in navigating congested city streets. The nascent “micro-mobility” industry wants to bridge the gap between private automobiles, public transit, and pedestrians and consumers have responded positively. However, Lime has faced no shortage of controversy in becoming a household name. Like many nascent and innovative industries, scooter sharing companies are still dangerously under-regulated. These gaps in regulation mean danger for private citizens. Malloy Law wants to ensure that our community is informed of their rights in the event of a Lime scooter accident.
Despite ostensibly being a service for riders 18 and older, Lime’s service has attracted a large number of underage teenagers. It’s not hard to see why. Teens in urban areas without ready access to cars or places to park them want to get around. Lime’s affordable fees are within the budget of many young people. The app itself requires riders to declare they’re 18 years or older when signing the required waivers and user agreements before renting a vehicle. But this is far from airtight. Most municipalities do not require Lime riders to submit legal documents proving their age. Therefore there is a decent chance that if you are involved in an accident with a reckless Lime scooter or bike operator, they may be underage and renting the scooter illegally. This can further complicate any potential civil litigation you may wish to pursue against the negligent rider.
Lime and its competitors generally avoid responsibility for accidents caused by their riders due to these liability waivers and user agreements. However, these waivers are never a completely effective shield against litigation. For instance: if it can be proven that an accident was caused by some mechanical fault in the scooter or bike that should have been repaired by Lime staff, Lime may be guilty of negligence.
There are several municipal ordinances on the books in the District of Columbia specifically pertaining to the operation of electric scooters. Riders may be subject to fines if they fail to lock their scooter to a bike rack, signpost, or scooter corral after finishing their ride. Lime scooters are also forbidden from riding on sidewalks in the central business district. There are, of course, many other DC scooter laws on the books. These include:
Of course, any frequent pedestrian in downtown DC knows how often these laws are bent or ignored entirely. This makes accidents and injuries inevitable.
If you are involved in a Lime scooter accident, your health is your first priority. Do not hesitate to seek professional medical attention and contact emergency services if you feel it’s necessary. Once you’ve seen to your well-being, you should:
If your accident was caused by mechanical failure on the part of the scooter, document the failure extensively and make note of the scooter ID number. Taking these steps will help with insurance filing and strengthen any civil litigation you may wish to pursue.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Lime scooter accident, the personal injury specialists at Malloy Law Offices can help. Our experienced and diverse team of attorneys will evaluate your case free of charge and advise you of the best course of action. Our firm prides itself on a culture of empathy for the injured and individualized client attention. Contact Malloy Law today and let us fight for you.