27 Mar 2023

By Boris Tadchiev

In Personal Injury

Since being made legal in New York City in June 2020, electric scooters and e-bikes have become common in Queens streets, with varying levels of skill and safe use among riders. Numerous e-scooter accidents and injuries have been reported, many involving pedestrians. More recently, additional injuries have been attributed to fires caused by the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power e-scooters and e-bikes.

An e-scooter accident can change your life in the blink of an eye, potentially leaving you with debilitating wounds like a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or serious burns. If you were struck by a motorist and seriously injured while riding an e-scooter in NYC, an experienced Queens personal injury lawyer with The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C. can help you seek compensation to recover financially. If you were injured in a collision caused by an e-scooter, our attorneys also can determine who is financially liable for the accident.

Our attorneys have years of experience handling vehicle accident claims and are prepared to seek maximum compensation for you if you have been seriously injured by someone else’s negligence. The Tadchiev Law Firm offers a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options. You pay no fees unless we win for you. For your no-obligation case review, contact us today.

What Is an Electric Scooter or E-Scooter?

Electric scooters are two-wheeled vehicles that users typically rent to ride. Under New York state regulations, a legally operated e-scooter weighs less than 100 pounds and:

  • Has handlebars, a floorboard or a seat that can be stood or sat upon by the operator, and an electric motor. Riders typically stand on a narrow metal blade to operate e-scooters.
  • Can be powered by an electric motor
  • Has a maximum speed of no more than 20 miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered by an electric motor.

NYC E-Scooter Laws: Everything You Need to Know

New York City actually has very few regulations regarding the use of e-scooters. They are:

  • You must not operate an e-scooter in excess of 15 mph.
  • E-scooters may be ridden in bike lanes and on streets with speed limits no greater than 30 mph.
  • E-scooters are prohibited on NYC sidewalks.
  • Helmets are recommended for all e-scooter riders and are required for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Riding E-Scooters in New York Parks: Regulations and Restrictions

When in a New York City park, in addition to following city regulations – and not riding an e-scooter on the sidewalk, in particular – you should check signs or the city parks website for additional restrictions.

For example, the High Line prohibits e-scooters along with bicycles, skateboards, and skates. But in Queens, there are currently no additional restrictions on riding e-scooters at Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk or at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Stay Safe on Your E-Scooter: Top Tips for Riding in NYC

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers safety tips for riding e-scooters, including:

  • Wear a helmet to help prevent injury in falls and collisions. Knee and elbow pads are also helpful.
  • Check for damage to the scooter before riding. You could lose control of an e-scooter that did not work correctly because of damage.
  • Test the brakes. You need to know how to use the brakes, including how abruptly or how slowly they stop the e-scooter.
  • Ride alone. An e-scooter is for one rider. Additional riders can increase the risk and severity of collisions.
  • Keep both hands on the handlebars. Don’t hang or attach items to the handlebars.
  • Be alert to others who won’t be alert to you. E-scooters are small, quick, and silent, making it easy for other road users to overlook you. Slow down, look, and plan ahead. Do not make abrupt, unpredictable movements.
  • Avoid distractions while riding. Listening to music while riding an e-scooter reduces your ability to hear what is going on around you. Don’t talk on a cell phone, even if it’s a hands-free device.
  • Watch out for uneven surfaces, cracks, and debris in the road. Uneven pavement or debris can trip an e-scooter and throw you off of it.
  • Ride sober. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

NYC Fire and Burn Injury Danger From E-Scooter Batteries

The New York Attorney General’s Office has published safety tips about the use of lithium-ion batteries, which power e-scooters and e-bikes. The NY Times says the batteries caused 216 fires in the city in 2022, with 147 injuries and six deaths. As of February 27, 2023, they were responsible for 30 fires, 40 injuries, and two deaths, according to the NYC Fire Department.

Experts tell the newspaper that much of the fire and explosion risk is posed by off-market, refurbished, damaged, or improperly charged lithium-ion batteries. A chemical reaction inside the battery can spark a fire.

The Attorney General suggests that you:

  • Buy your e-bike and battery from a trusted manufacturer.
  • Maintain your battery by carefully checking it from time to time.
  • Store your e-scooter in a safe place.
  • Charge your battery using only the cord and power adapter provided by the manufacturer.
  • Dispose of your battery at a battery-recycling location (find one here). Putting batteries in the trash or recycling them at home is unsafe and illegal.

Involved in an E-Scooter Accident in NYC? Here’s What to Do

If you have been injured in an accident caused by an e-scooter owner or operator, you may have legal recourse to claim compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. As soon as you can, you should:

  • Report the accident. Call NYC police to report the accident. Ask how to get a copy of the police report, and get one as soon as possible. If the accident involves your motor vehicle, report it to your auto insurance carrier.
  • Document the accident. Take photos or video of the accident scene, your injuries, property damage, and anything else that will help depict what happened.
  • Document your injuries. If you are badly injured, call for an ambulance. Otherwise, see a doctor within 24 hours. There are many potentially serious injuries that do not exhibit symptoms right away.
  • Contact an attorney. If you have medical bills, lost work time, or other costs because of someone else’s negligence, a personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you are due.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Queens for Legal Assistance

If you have been injured in an electric scooter accident in Queens, contact The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., today. We advocate for people who have been injured in e-scooter accidents to be fully compensated for their losses. We know how stressful an accident and dealing with injuries is, and we are ready to do everything we can to take the pressure off you. You can rely on us for the personalized service you deserve.

Call us or reach out online now for your free consultation.