California has a global reputation as a bike-friendly and scooter-friendly state. Our legislators have enacted dozens of new laws protecting cyclists and scooter riders.
For example, we have the Safe Passing Law that requires motorists to give cyclists three feet of passing space. We also have multiple laws that support cyclists’ and scooter users’ rights to share the lane. And recently, we gained the benefits of AB-3153, the Bike Parking Bill.
However, bill AB-371 is another matter. It threatens the safety of people who ride bikes and scooters plus everyone else on the road. We encourage you to educate yourself on the potentially devastating impact of this bill.
Meet AB-371, the Shared Mobility Devices Bill
When you don’t know much about it, the bill doesn’t sound so bad. Introduced by Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, AB-371 is officially known as the proposed Shared Mobility Devices: Insurance and Tracking bill.
It would require entities that operate shared bike/scooter systems in California – meaning all private companies, nonprofits, and government agencies – to extend liability coverage to the negligence of riders. Confused? Let us explain.
If passed, this bill would put the responsibility for negligent driving on the rental company, not the person who rented the bike or scooter. This means you could rent a scooter, crash it into someone, and put all the blame on the scooter company.
It would be unprecedented in California. To see how ridiculous it is, imagine the following parallel situation. Someone rents a U-Haul and smashes it into another driver, but the liability lands on U-Haul to pay for all the costs. What about the driver’s personal responsibility?
Plus, as the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition points out, the bill would encourage fraud and false claims. It would be easy for people to stage accidents with minimal proof and place the burden on transportation services or the government to pay the bills.
Could This Bill Kill Shared Transportation Systems? Yes!
AB-371 could have a chilling effect on shared transportation companies’ capacity to operate within the state of California. This could have the downstream impact of limiting bike and scooter travel, eliminating low-cost transportation options, and even harming the environment.
Think about it from the perspective of a transportation company. Would you want to operate a scooter-sharing service knowing you could easily be sued into oblivion? Imagine starting a local bike-sharing nonprofit, then finding yourself owing millions of dollars over an accident you couldn’t possibly have prevented.
The LA Bike Coalition issued a statement clarifying their position on AB-371 and why it’s not only dangerous but also an ill-timed bill:
“As California looks to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, this is not the time to eliminate affordable, socially distanced transportation modes. The legislature should do its part in supporting bike and scooter programs, which replace tens of millions of car trips and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than saddle cities’ micromobility programs with an onerous array of costs that will ultimately impact our most vulnerable communities the most.”
-Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
What do you think? Do you support AB-371? At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we keep a close eye on new legislation that can impact transportation safety for generations to come.
We’ll be tracking AB-371 as it makes its way through the California legislature. In the meantime, try to stay safe out there and avoid reckless drivers. If you’re ever injured, contact us for a free and compassionate case evaluation with local lawyers who are cyclists and scooter riders just like you!
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including ridesharing and bicycle and scooter accident injuries. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.