E-Scooters (Bird, Lime and now Uber Jump) have become a common sight on the road and sidewalks. They are touted as an eco-friendly, affordable and fun alternative to sitting in traffic. Of course, a new mode of transport, just like any new toy, brings excitement but also a few things we don’t think about right out of the box. We have answers to questions you may have (or may not have even thought of!) before you hop on (pun intended) this new trend.
When I rent an E-Scooter, I’m covered by the E-Scooter’s insurance, right?
Unfortunately, no. Most states require E-Scooter companies to register for permits and obtain certain types and limits of insurance to protect the city and themselves, but not the ‘rider.’ In fact, the terms of agreement that you agree to when you use an E-Scooter app state that not only do you agree that you are “responsible and liable” for any “consequences, claims, losses, liabilities, damages, injuries costs” (and on and on), but that you also “fully release” them of “liability for all claims in any way related to Rider’s use of the device”. *
Ok, so the Scooter company doesn’t cover me, but that’s ok. I have car insurance, so if I hurt someone or cause an accident, I still have coverage, right?
You would think so but… most auto insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for any motorized vehicle with fewer than four wheels, and motorcycle policies may not cover scooters that require users to stand.
I remember reading that sometimes home insurance picks up coverage for golf carts, etc. Also, scooters are similar to bikes, which are covered by my home policy, so I have coverage here, right?
Many home Insurance policies specifically exclude use of any motorized device when used on public roads. You will need to ask your agent as respects your individual policy.
Umbrella/excess liability policy???
These policies are very important – and one of the most affordable policies out there. All polices are not the same! Some will only follow the coverage provided by the home policy, so if excluded by the home, no coverage. Other policies provide broader coverage and will pay for losses that are not covered by the home policy. Again, you will need to ask your agent as to how your policy responds.
So, what’s a “Rider” to do??
This is a very important question – and one that is not easy to answer right now. Currently, neither the laws nor the insurance companies are quite up to speed on how they will handle the “downside” to e-scooters and similar devices. A company called “Voom” has announced that it will be offering “on-demand” affordable insurance for riders through an app, but it may be some time before this is operational in your area. For now, be aware of the risk that you are taking on when you ride these devices, and know the most recent rules/laws, which are rapidly changing.
What are the laws regarding E Scooters? Are there age requirements?
It depends on the city. Some cities haven’t developed laws or regulations to address E-scooter use at all. In many cities where legislation does address them, like Atlanta, there is no age requirement by the city legislation, but most E-Scooter companies require that riders are 18 or older. In some cities, like Beverly Hills, CA, and suburbs of Atlanta, like Alpharetta and Smyrna, E-scooters have been banned altogether.
Do I have to be licensed to ride?
Not always – in the Atlanta area and other metropolitan areas, no training or licensing is required.
What about helmets?
The companies and municipalities addressing E-scooter safety most often “encourage” helmet use, but it is often not legally required, unless you are under the age of 16.
Where am I allowed to ride an E-scooter?
Generally, E-scooters follow rules similar to a bike – they are not allowed on sidewalks, but are allowed in bike lanes, bike paths and public roads.
Can my child or someone else ride the scooter with me?
No. Only one rider per scooter is allowed.
In the digital age, it’s easy to agree to app terms on new trends. But, E-Scooters can lead to costly liabilities if you’re not careful. Be sure to read the terms and take note of your risks before you enjoy the ride.
*Bird Rental Agreement
**Please review your individual policy as coverage varies.