While most Florida pedestrian accidents and car accidents involve cars, the increased presence of scooters on city streets and pedestrian areas has created a whole new hazard and legal question – one that is difficult o resolve. Scooters, also known as EMDs (electric mobility devices) are showing up in greater numbers to help those who are too elderly, too ill, and too obese to walk easily.
The difficulty with scooters is that they are an in-between entity. Those who ride scooters are not exactly pedestrians and not drivers, either. Under Florida laws, these devices do not require registration or licensing. However, these devices can cause serious accidents if they run into a pedestrian. When drivers use scooters in the roads, they can also cause Florida car accidents.
Currently, auto insurance is not applicable to EMDs and homeowners insurance does not cover any accidents or injuries caused by these devices outside the home. Worse, many who use scooters are in fact using them in ways they should not be used. Manufacturers of EMDs state that scooters should not be used on the roads and Medicare only pays for EMDs if they will be used indoors only. Drive-thru restaurants will not serve people on EMDs due to concerns about liability issues. However, many people who use scooters do use them in sidewalks, in parking lots, and even on the roads. In the event of an accident, this raises further complicated questions about liability.
There have been a number of well-reported scooter accidents across the US over the past year and this has prompted many people to discuss possible ways to insure EMDs. There has been discussions as well about ways to define scooter users legally and possible legislation which can be put in place to protect the public.
In Florida, a recent high-profile case involves a 73-year old EMD driver who got intoxicated and drive home on his scooter, only to be struck down by a car. He was issued a ticket as a pedestrian – for walking out in front of a car. The case underscores the lack of regulations concerning EMDs. While drivers of cars have rules and laws they must follow to prevent Florida drunk driving accidents, there are no laws preventing scooter users from driving drunk.
Scooters can also pose a serious hazard to pedestrians and can cause Florida pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents when the devices are used on sidewalks and pedestrian trails. EMDs are quite wide and can move quickly. If they collide with a bicyclists or pedestrian, serious injuries are the likely result due to the bulk and the speed of the scooter. Currently, however, anyone who is injured by a scooter must seek recovery through civil court because there are too few laws in place protecting pedestrians, car drivers, and scooter users.
If you have been injured in a Florida car accident or pedestrian accident involving an EMD, contact the Flaxman Law Group. Our experienced legal team can meet with you in a free, no-obligation consultation to advise you of your rights and options. We can help you determine whether you have a case so that you can decide what to do in your situation. With law offices in Homestead, Hollywood, and Miami, the Flaxman Law Group is poised to serve injury victims throughout South Florida. Call today to set up your consultation.