We have thousands of scooter users here in coastal California and it’s easy to see why. Scooters are fuel-efficient, cost-effective, good for the Earth, and fun to ride. In fact, many of us at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers use scooters frequently!
But the fun comes to an abrupt end when someone hits you and leaves you with painful injuries. As scooter accident lawyers, we’ve seen shockingly severe accidents that have left our clients struggling to cope with the physical, emotional, and financial damage they’re left with.
We’d like to share the top causes of scooter accidents so you can be on the lookout for potential hazards on the road. Here are 5 main causes of San Francisco and LA scooter accident injuries.
Visibility is a Major Cause of Scooter Accidents
One of the biggest risks of riding a scooter is related to visibility. Simply put: You’re almost invisible to other drivers on the road.
Probably the #1 thing accident lawyers hear from people who hit scooter riders is, “I didn’t even see them!” It’s common for the drivers of cars, SUVs, trucks, and big rigs to barely notice smaller-size road users like scooter riders, e-bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
Psychological science researchers call this “inattentional blindness,” and road safety experts say it is the primary cause of “looked but failed to see” (LBFTS) crashes. Research shows that even when the average driver is paying close attention during a driving test – including checking for oncoming traffic – 65% of them still fail to see a small-size road user.
Watch Out for Those Left Turns
Another common cause of scooter accidents is the left-turn accident. It happens when a scooter is heading straight down the road, but another vehicle makes a left turn immediately in front of the scooter and causes a crash.
Again, visibility plays a role here. Often, the other driver claims they didn’t notice the scooter in the road or couldn’t see the scooter’s headlight at night.
To another motorist, a scooter or motorcyclist’s little headlight causes a strange optical illusion where the small size makes it look far away. For this reason, vehicle drivers often think they have more time to make a left turn than they actually do.
Regardless, another driver can’t simply turn left in front of a scooter and cause a road accident without facing the consequences. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we help scooter users gather the proof they need to show the other driver caused the crash.
Right Turns are Risky Too
Right turns are another frequent cause of scooter accidents. In this situation, a scooter rider is pausing and looking for traffic before proceeding into a right turn when another motorist rear-ends them or runs over them from behind.
Maybe the other driver didn’t see the scooter’s tail light, didn’t notice the brake lights, or just never realized there was a scooter in front of them at all. In some cases, the motorist will blame loose gravel, sand, or other debris in the road that prevented them from stopping.
We’ve even seen cases where both the motorist and the scooter driver point out that the road had a rocky, broken surface due to nearby road construction. If this is a factor in your accident, let your lawyer know so they can investigate road construction in the area and determine if the construction company or a government agency holds some liability.
Don’t Split Lanes With Other Motorists
Do you engage in lane splitting? Scooter riders sometimes do this without realizing how dangerous it is.
Lane splitting occurs when a scooter slips through slowed or stopped traffic by sharing other drivers’ lanes. It commonly occurs at red lights and in areas of heavily-congested traffic when the scooter driver is tired of waiting and wants to move ahead by zipping in and out of lanes.
Although lane splitting is legal in California, it’s risky because other drivers can’t predict your erratic driving. Another motorist could veer into your path, open their door into you, or suddenly accelerate and run you over.
Remember, You’re Surrounded By Rideshare Drivers
Scooter drivers should also keep in mind that whenever they hit the road, they’re riding in a sea of drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies. These drivers are under intense time pressure and are sometimes distracted by the app they use to make their income.
Because they’re constantly picking up and dropping off passengers, rideshare vehicles come into frequent contact with the same areas scooters tend to travel – on the shoulder of the road, along the curb, near sidewalks, and close to buildings.
If an Uber driver hits your scooter, talk to Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers about your options. We have extensive experience with both scooter and Uber accidents.
Beware of Blind Spots
Finally, we’d caution you to beware of other drivers’ blind spots. Size matters on the road and your little scooter can easily be completely hidden in another driver’s blind spot.
Semi-trucks, for example, have blind spots that stretch as long as 20 to 30 feet along the side of their rigs. When you’re riding a freeway-legal scooter and splitting lanes in traffic, you could easily slide into a truck driver’s blind spot.
If the worst happens and you end up getting in an accident on your scooter, talk to us about your options and the steps to getting a settlement. Our thorough knowledge about scooter accidents and other drivers’ behavior helps us get positive results for California scooter users.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims, including scooter accident claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation
So the main cause of scooter accidents is typically related to visibility. That is probably the number one cause of motorcycle and scooter and e-bike accidents is motorists always saying they came out of nowhere or I didn’t see them. So it’s just not in the normal motorist’s visual brainwaves to see a single headlight or to see a small vehicle, they’re always looking for something the same size as them, something with two headlights.
Okay. So one of the really common causes of scooter accidents is the left turn accident. So what happens is a scooter will be heading straight down the road and another car will cut right in front of it going left because they don’t see either the scooter coming because it has a single headlight or because it’s a smaller vehicle. To a motorist, a motorcycle appears further away than it actually is, so they think they have the time to make that left turn before the motorcycle or scooter gets there, but they don’t. And so often we receive calls from people who are on a scooter and somebody cut them off by trying to make a left turn from the opposite direction.
Another really frequent cause of scooter accidents is the right turn accident. What that is, is if a scooter is having to yield on a red to make their right turn, oftentimes they’ll get rear-ended by an automobile because again, the motorist doesn’t register the single tail light, the single brake light, or they just don’t even see the scooter and so they just want to take that position at the crosswalk instead of waiting for the scooter that’s in front of them. Let’s see, other common causes of scooter accidents are debris on the road. So if there’s loose gravel, sand, some sort of road construction, that is where a scooter can be really vulnerable because the wheels on scooters and the tires are quite small, on motorcycles you’ve got a more substantial tire, but with scooters, it’s really small so it can get thrown off balance if it hits an uneven part of the road or skids on some gravel.
So sometimes those accidents, there is a liable party, say there’s road construction going on that should have been cleaned up, but oftentimes it’s you’re riding on a road that it just recently rained and now there’s dirt on the road or water and there’s nobody really at fault for those. Can we pause? I figured this because I needed to have a second to think about what other causes there are. Those ones stood out to me as the top three, but now I’m trying to think of other ones. Maybe one more, I guess.
One more pretty common cause of scooter accidents in California is when a scooter is splitting lanes. So splitting lanes in California is legal, that means if two lanes of traffic are piled up, the scooter or motorcycle can split through the middle of those lanes. However, they’re not supposed to be going at a significantly greater speed than the traffic in the lanes that they’re splitting. So if the traffic is at a dead stop, you’re not supposed to be zipping through at 20 miles an hour. Maybe if you want to get up to the front of it… I used to do this all the time, you’re in San Francisco, it’s just packed all the way back from the red light, and you just want to get up to the front because motorcycles can take off a lot faster, scooters can take off a lot faster than cars. So you zip through the stopped traffic to get to the front of the line, but you can only go five or 10 miles an hour otherwise, people will open their car doors, people will veer into other lanes.
Especially with Uber’s and Lyft’s, they’re dropping passengers off, picking people up, they’re zipping in and out of their lanes and so that’s a common cause of accidents even in the city and then also on the freeway. So let’s say you have a freeway legal scooter and you’re splitting lanes on the freeway, well, then in that case you want to make sure you’re not going excessively faster than the traffic around you and that you’re not hanging out in anyone’s blind spot. So those are four very common types of causes for scooter accidents in California.