THREATS TO PROPERTY, OWNERS, BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS
Apart from the threats to the physical safety of both pedestrians and scooter users, there are further threats to property, property owners, businesses and employers. They arise from:
- the lack of insurance carried by rented scooter drivers,
- the responsibility placed by the State of California on property owners for half the cost of maintaining adjacent sidewalks,
- potential liabilities from trying to move scooters, and,
- potential flooding of homes due to blocked drains resulting from parked scooters impeding street sweeping.
These issues and more are summarized in our document Talking Points. We encourage supporters to familiarize themselves with these points and talk to other people about them, as many residents, property owners and businesses are not yet aware of them.
THREATS TO PROPERTY: DAMAGE WITHOUT COMPENSATION
On the one hand there is the damage to property caused by collisions and falls, whether of riders or scooters, onto parked vehicles, etc. Bear in mind that the single most frequent cause of scooter injuries is not collision with cars but rather falls off the scooter when the rider loses balance. Also single stand kick scooters easily fall over, e.g. in high winds or if pushed, and corrals are often placed near parked cars.
Compounding this problem is that, according to the Insurance Information Institute, without additional Personal Liability insurance, virtually no scooter user has insurance. Many scooter users assume that their auto insurance covers them but it does not. Others simply don't think about the issue. However, if property is damaged when the scooter is being driven and the scooter user is uninsured, can be identified and lacks personal capital, the property owner has virtually no way of recovering the loss. If damage occurs when the scooter is parked, then it is in the possession of the rental company and recovery of losses may be possible and we wish anyone trying to do so good luck with that!
THREATS TO PROPERTY OWNERS: PREMISES LIABILITY FOR INJURIES FROM FALLS
The State of California, (Section 5610 of the Streets and Highways Code), imposes an obligation on property owners to keep adjacent sidewalks free of obstacles and hazards. If a property owner fails to do so and someone is injured falling over a scooter, (whether upright or on its side), on the adjacent sidewalk, he or she may face a claim either from the injured party or the City. The City of San Diego has faced a number of claims due to potholes and protrusions on sidewalks; according to David Garrick writing in the San Diego Union-Tribune in April 2018 these amounted to over $11m over five years.
THREATS TO PROPERTY: RISK OF FLOODED HOMES
Corrals in the street filled with scooters also become filled with trash which, if not removed by the City's frequent street sweeping, finds its way into storm drains which then become clogged. When it rains, clogged drains can cause flooding which can be severe enough to flood homes.
Thus the scooter rental industry recklessly creates a threat of flooding of properties in the San Diego beach communities by ignoring the requirement to enable streets to be fully swept.
Around one minute and twenty seconds into this video note the reference to blocked storm drains
and how quickly the water drains once they are cleared.
THREATS TO BUSINESSES
In the case of a business, if an employee moves a scooter during the course of their work and is injured in doing so, the business may face a claim under its Workers' Compensation coverage, which is why many employers prohibit employees from using motorized scooters during their work and instead hire innovative San Diego start-up Scoot Scoop to deal with the problem for them.