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Despite First Day Mishap, E-Scooter Program Gains Speed

Posted by Stacey L. Pietrowicz

Stacey L. Pietrowicz
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Stacey brings meticulous attention to detail to every type of case, with consistently outstanding results. Although the youngest partner at SUGARMAN, Stacey routinely handles some of the firm's most sophisticated cases and has been recognized in Massachusetts Super Lawyers every year since 2013. Meet Stacey

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On Monday April 1, Brookline launched its pilot program with Bird and Lime making about 200 electronic scooters, known widely as “e-scooters” available for rent in Brookline. During the press conference designed to launch their services and give tutorials to residents, a sixty-two year-old member of Brookline’s town advisory committee fell and was injured while testing a scooter. She was bleeding from her head and was transported by ambulance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, but is expected to recover. Luckily, her injuries were not more severe. This incident, which has been attributed to operator inexperience, did not involve the crowds, vehicles or congested city streets that regular users will encounter.   

On April 6, Lime held a free e-scooter demonstration in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood of Brookline, providing lessons and guidance, allowing people to test the scooters and even giving away helmets, which are required by the pilot program to be worn by all riders. To help guide people who did not make it to the launch or Lime’s demo, a list of frequently asked questions has been made available on the Town of Brookline’s website, which addresses age and helmet requirements, and where people can ride and park the scooters. Sidewalk riding is strictly prohibited. 

The launching of e-scooters has been highly anticipated by some, and reviled by others who feel that city streets are already too dangerous and crowded. Under this six-month pilot program subscribers of Lime and Bird, through their apps, are allowed to start a ride in Brookline and finish it in Boston, where they have not yet been legalized. However, users are not supposed to initiate rides in Boston, and those who regularly do will have their accounts suspended. Lime and Bird will be monitoring the locations of the scooters using a GPS system and are required to pick up any stranded e-scooter within four hours.

The restriction on scooter rides in Boston city limits may be short-lived, however. On March 27, just prior to the Brookline launch, Boston City Council passed an ordinance, first proposed by Mayor Marty Walsh in January, that sets up an advisory committee on the issue, and begins outlining licensing, regulations and fees. It seems to be only a matter of time before Boston adds e-scooters to its long list of transportation options, which already includes bicycle shares in addition to more traditional forms of transportation. 

It is too early to determine how safety rules, addressed in our prior blog on this topic, will be enforced, including wearing a helmet, riding off public sidewalks and parking e-scooters out of pedestrian ways. The Town of Brookline has indicated that they will have people patrolling for safety enforcement and they will not hesitate to call on Lime and Bird for more robust education, if necessary.

For assistance with injuries involving incidents caused by the operation of e-scooters, contact us. SUGARMAN’s personal injury attorneys have experience in motor vehicle cases of all types. Call us at 617-542-1000, email info@sugarman.com, or fill out a Contact Form.