By now you’ve probably seen them parked downtown, or while on vacation, waiting to be rented for an hour or two of fun. They seem to be taking the place of bicycles for rent that were popular just a few years ago.
But … are they safe, and even more important, are you protected in the event of an accident? The answers may surprise you.
One needs to only be 18 years old to rent an E-Scooter. The E-Scooter App includes a “waiver” of liability that one agrees to when renting the E-Scooter. Even though the scooter company likely carries liability insurance, the “waiver” pretty much absolves the scooter company of any liability, absent a defect in the scooter itself. Such a defect could be the result of faulty manufacture or maintenance. But how would you prove such a defect. Would you be able to pick out “your” scooter from a group? Absent something so obvious, the Scooter would most likely have been ridden by dozens, if not hundreds, of subsequent renters (thereby altering the condition of the scooter) before you even put the company on notice.
Moreover, Arizona Law does not require that an E-Scooter rider wear a helmet, thereby potentially increasing the risk of serious injury in an accident. What if, while renting a scooter, you cause injury to yourself or someone else? What if, you’re injured by someone riding such a scooter?
Sadly, you may have no coverage. The scooter company’s liability coverage will not likely extend to such situations (remember the waiver?). Someone’s automobile insurance usually does not extend to cover their insured while riding an E-Scooter, which is not considered a “motor vehicle.” In fact, many policies specifically exclude such coverage. Someone’s homeowners or renters insurance will not cover such situations. Your UM (uninsured motorist) will likely exclude coverage for E-Scooters since the law does not require the E-Scooter rider to have liability insurance and an E-Scooter is not necessarily considered a “motor vehicle.”
Some auto insurance carriers do offer umbrella policies that extend to recreational vehicles that could include an E-Scooter. For most of us, our only recourse would be to our health insurance, or to personally pursue a negligent claim against an E-Scooter driver.
The bottom line … think long and hard before you rent an E-Scooter, and be on your guard when around other E-Scooter riders.