Accidents and Electric Scooters in New York and New Jersey

Person rides on a scooter in a NYC park toward the 1 World Trade Center building shown in the background.

Electric Scooters are Coming to New York 

According to a recent article in The New York Times, electric scooters will soon be available to New York residents and visitors alike, much as they are currently available to people in Hoboken and throughout New Jersey. Yet, the availability of electric scooters could possibly mean a higher rate of accidents and personal injuries in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. 

While Manhattan has decided to outlaw scooters due to motorist and pedestrian congestion, people in the other boroughs of New York City will soon be able to use electric scooters from companies like Bird and Lime. The decision to ban electric scooters in Manhattan was part of a compromise to bring these vehicles into the city, the article explains. While the electric scooter companies, along with delivery workers, would have liked to see the inclusion of electric scooters in all five boroughs, the agreement to prohibit them in Manhattan will allow the scooters to become available elsewhere. New York State lawmakers recently reached a deal concerning electric scooters after “tech leaders and delivery workers . . . fought for months to make the speedy devices legal.” The compromise “addressed safety concerns from leaders in New York City who worries that scooters could make Manhattan’s crowded streets even more dangerous.”

The bill still needs to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo before it passes into law. Cuomo has indicated in the past that he has “safety concerns on the bill as drafted,” yet many of his safety concerns appeared to deal with the possibility of e-scooters in Manhattan. Specifically, Cuomo indicated that “he was worried that a fast scooter on a sidewalk in Manhattan could knock over older people.” 

In response, Jessica Ramos, a state senator from Queens, indicated that the current bill going to lawmakers for initial approval before reaching Cuomo’s desk addresses those safety concerns because  “scooters would be banned on sidewalks and New York City would get to decide where the devices are allowed.” 

Other New York elected officials support the introduction of electric scooters. For example, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office indicated that the mayor “welcomed new rules by state lawmakers.” If the new law is approved, it will allow boroughs to make decisions about how the e-scooters are implemented and what rules they must follow. Many New Yorkers who live in New Jersey already use e-scooters, including in Hoboken.

Risks of Electric Scooters: Get the Facts

 While electric scooters may be extremely popular, research has suggested that they are also dangerous. When it comes to accidents and personal injuries, the following are facts and figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Per 100,000 e-scooter trips taken, about 20 riders are injured;
  • Approximately 50% of all e-scooter injuries are head injuries;
  • Around half of all riders who were injured reported sustaining a severe injury, ranging from bone fractures, injuries to a nerve, tendon, or ligament, severe bleeding, and/or organ damage;
  • Of the riders who sustained a severe injury, almost 85% suffered a bone fracture along with other types of injuries;
  • 50% of e-scooter riders who get injured suffer injuries on streets, while about one-third or 33% sustain injuries in sidewalk accidents; and
  • Cars and other motor vehicles factor into about 16% of all e-scooter injuries.

 If you were injured in a scooter accident or another pedestrian accident, you should speak with an accident attorney about your case.

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