E-Scooters May Not Be as Green as You Think

e-scooter injury attorney

Electric scooter (or “e-scooter”) sharing companies want consumers to believe the use of an e-scooter is a green method of transportation.  Two major e-scooter companies, Bird and Lime, advertise that the use of e-scooters is environmentally friendly and Bird says they are a carbon-free alternative to cars. Unfortunately, science does not back up their claims. 

Are E-Scooters Carbon Free?

A common complaint from communities with e-scooter sharing services it the litter the scooters themselves produce when they are broken and abandoned on the sidewalk, street, or even in rivers (check out @BirdGraveyard in Instagram to see pictures of e-scooter debris).  E-Scooters are relatively disposable items with an average lifespan of just two years.  With all of the components involved in the manufacturing of an e-scooter, the carbon footprint is hardly carbon-free.  Add to that the emissions attributed to the collection and storage of the scooters and it’s easy to see that e-scooters have an environmental impact from their lifecycle.

E-Scooters Have Emissions

While a study in North Carolina published in the MIT Technology Review in 2019* found that e-scooters produce about half of the emissions of a standard motor vehicle, the study also found that their per-passenger-mile emissions are higher than an electric moped, an electric bicycle, or even a diesel bus with high ridership.  And while e-scooters may be seen as an alternative to using a standard vehicle, the study found that only 34% of users would have used a car instead of the e-scooter leaving the many users replacing the true carbon-free mode of transportation – walking. 


E-Scooter sharing companies have been known to give sponsorship money to non-profits and advocacy groups to gain support.  In the beginning, little was known about the cost e-scooters would have on the environment, so you may see advocacy groups promoting the eco-friendliness of e-scooters, but over time more and more studies will emerge showing the true color of e-scooters, and it isn’t going to be green.

E-Scooter Injury Attorney

If you or someone you know has been injured in an incident involving an e-scooter, please contact us for a free consultation.  The hundreds of pages of cell phone screen space it takes to read an entire rider agreement should not make you feel powerless.  At Rahman Law, we advocate and fight for the rights and safety of pedestrians and cyclists.  We’re here when you need us.

*MIT Technology Review, Sorry, scooters aren’t so climate-friendly after all, James Temple (August 2019)

E-Scooter Personal Injury Cases are on the Rise

personal injury attorney San Francisco

Electric scooters (often called “e-scooters”) are a relatively new resource promoted by sharing companies, like Bird Rides, Inc., that are found in major cities like San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.  There was almost immediate backlash for the distribution methodologies of these companies by pedestrian and disability advocates with concern for safety.  Now, a few years into the use of e-scooters as a shared resource for transportation, studies are finding personal injury cases related to e-scooters are on the rise. 

Bird Rides, Inc. conducted their own research and have been promoting e-scooters as equally as-safe-as or safer-than riding a bicycle, but these “key findings” are related to internal (“secret”) data and “independent research.”  However, there is published research evidencing the rate of injury for e-scooters may be higher than that of personal vehicles and motorcycles with particularly heavy incidences of head and limb injuries.  Injuries from e-scooters treated in emergency rooms throughout the U.S. nearly doubled between 2018 and 2019.*  In California, helmet use is only required for riders under the age of 18, but while other vehicle laws remain in place inclusive of e-scooters, personal injuries result from a multitude of factors including failure to obey the traffic laws, alcohol, and rider inexperience. 

There has been a string of class action personal injury lawsuits nationwide against e-scooter sharing companies and e-scooter companies are calling for safer streets, but better roadway infrastructure as a way to lessen scooter-related injuries does not follow the emerging research on e-scooter injuries.  A limited study conducted by Austin Public Health in 2018 revealed only 10% of riders who were injured sustained injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle vs. 37% of injured e-scooter riders reporting excessive e-scooter speed contributed to their injuries.  And despite legislation already being in place and continuing to remain in place prohibiting the use of e-scooters on sidewalks, riders still ride e-scooters on sidewalks, putting pedestrians at risk of injury, too. 

The rental agreement from Bird to use an e-scooter is 261 cell phone screens long and incudes a waiver of a (constitutional right to a) jury trial in favor of binding arbitration and a provision to protect the company (and any Municipality contracted to provide the services) from all claims of negligence.  The rider is riding at their own risk, but the chances of them reading through the 18,404-word agreement are small.  This creates a consumer hurdle to suing Bird for a personal injury. 

As personal injury attorneys in San Francisco, we advocate for bicyclist and pedestrian safety as personal injury attorneys.  In San Francisco and other California cities, e-scooters are appearing to be adopted as a way to shift away from gas-powered vehicles, which is beneficial, but there is a complete disregard for the safety of users of these e-scooters.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter collision, contact us today for a free consultation

* JAMA Network Open, Estimated Incidence of Electric Scooter Injuries in the US From 2014 to 2019, Kevin Xavier Farley, Matthew Aizpuru, MD, Jacob M. Wilson, MD. (August 2020)