LIABILITY IN NORMAN OKLAHOMA FOR BIRD or LIME, and such, SCOOTERS:
Ingenious product, ubiquitous market, insatiable demand. Like all wonderful things, the advent of the rentable motorized scooter (for lack of a more precise and consistent legal definition) is upon this college town. And, like all good things misused, tragedy will surely follow (and it won’t be pretty) when some elderly man or women steps out of a street-front shop or office onto the sidewalk and into the path of 150 lbs (more or less) of flesh & bone gliding inches above the concrete at 20+ mph.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the concept. I like the utility. I like the convenience. I like the low-cost factor. However, I don’t like the idea of pedestrians getting seriously injured by scooter riders who can offer no financial security for the damages they cause. Reckless and negligent use is a significant and known risk to Bird, Lime, and other scooter providers. Responsibility for damages must be shared jointly and severally between the driver/rider and (if not especially) the scooter providers. With reward comes risk. Bird and Lime must be prepared to pony up for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. when pedestrians are inevitably injured by the operation of Bird and Lime scooters.
These scooters would have to fall under the classification of “vehicle” pursuant to Norman Municipal Code. As a “vehicle”, these scooters cannot be legally operated within or upon any sidewalk areas that are not part of a driveway. But where do you see these scooters being driven? That’s right, on sidewalks – moving at considerably higher speeds than the pedestrian traffic. And, in Oklahoma, operators of motorized scooters are not required to comply with the vehicle insurance or financial responsibility laws. So, who’s going to pay? – the companies making the money.
If you are run into or over by a Bird or Lime scooter, it is imperative to obtain the name of the operator as well as the serial number of the scooter itself. It may sound like overkill now, but without these things, your ability to prove a case against the scooter providers may be gone forever.