A woman was seriously injured by a truck while riding her electric scooter Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Police say that woman was riding a Lime scooter west on Princeton Avenue near the Shadle Walmart when she rode out in front of a truck going south on G Street.
The woman suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital. Police also say that the woman wasn’t wearing a helmet, and it appeared that she didn’t yield to the right-of-way of the truck. The accident is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed at this time.
Scooter Truck Accidents
Other than walking, a scooter offers the least amount of protection in a collision with a motor vehicle. When that vehicle is a truck, the odds go even further against the scooter rider. Under Spokane law, scooters are allowed to operate on the streets and bike lanes, but are not allowed on the sidewalks in the downtown region.
This can be confusing to Lime scooter renters who pick up the scooters parked on sidewalks. That plus the fact that non-downtown sidewalks are legal to ride on makes it difficult to know exactly where it’s OK to ride on the sidewalks and where it’s illegal. The city of Spokane defended the no-sidewalks law saying it was a safety issue because of the heavier use of sidewalks by pedestrians downtown.
Lime Scooter Helmet Exemption
With safety being a concern why the city doesn’t allow scooters on downtown sidewalks, some wonder why Lime users are exempted from the helmet requirements under a new law passed in March, 2019. The speculation is that the city wanted to encourage Lime uses who don’t have helmets with them to rent the scooters to get around the city.
Who’s at Fault in a Scooter Accident?
While we have no idea regarding fault in the above-mentioned story, if a scooter rider fails to yield the right-of-way to a vehicle, it doesn’t mean that they are automatically at fault in a personal injury claim. In fact, Washington law states that a violation of a traffic law can not be used to conclude a person is at fault in a civil personal injury case.
At trail, if the injured cyclist makes a claim against a driver for injuries sustained in an accident, then he or she will have to prove that the driver was negligent. This means that the driver must have done something—or failed to do something—and disregarded the duty of care owed to the scooter rider.
What About not Wearing a Helmet?
So even though it’s not illegal to shed the helmet on a scooter, if you get injured—especially with a head injury—in a scooter accident while not wearing one, can this be sued against you in your claim for injuries?
While the insurance company is allowed to bring up the issue, it can’t be uses as the sole reason to deny the injured person’s claims that the driver was negligent. Since Washington is a comparative negligence state, it may mean that someone will collect a smaller compensation award, but it can’t be used to deny compensation.
Do I need and Attorney?
If you’ve been injured riding a Lime scooter in Spokane, you should talk to an attorney to find out your rights and to have your case evaluated. Don’t take the word of the insurance company that you don’t have a claim, rather ask someone who will tell you the truth and who is going to be on your side.
The attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., practice law in both Washington State and Idaho and are experienced in personal injury bicycle laws. Call them today and get someone on your side. You can call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.