Safety Tips for Riding Shared Bikes and E-Scooters

Ever heard the term “sharing is caring”? That sentiment has inspired a new category of transportation that includes light, low-occupancy vehicles such as electric scooters (e-scooters), shared bicycles, and electric pedal-assisted bicycles (e-bikes). 

And the popularity of these vehicles has been growing – and then some. 

Economists predict the e-bike market will expand to $1.6 billion by 2027. As of June 30, 2023, dockless bike share systems serve 51 cities, and e-scooters serve 156 cities in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And commuters and tourists all across the country have logged more than half a billion trips since these vehicles debuted in 2010. 

As the trends shift e-scooters and shared bikes from a recreational novelty to a viable mode of travel, they do offer numerous benefits. For one, these popular pay-as-you-go motorized vehicles can be unlocked for a nominal fee (around $1) using only a smartphone. They promote a more active lifestyle. Plus, they can help reduce emissions, traffic congestion and demand for parking. 

The problem, then, is that with new technology comes the inevitable problems that follow. Bike-sharing apps often recommend wearing a helmet but it’s not required. Nor are they provided. And there’s a large question mark around whether or not insurance requires motorized scooters or bikes to be registered, licensed, or covered. 

By design, these types of vehicles expose the user to more vulnerability because there’s no enclosure like there is for a car or bus. As a result, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) found that there was a spike in emergency room-treated injuries from 2017-2021 in accidents that involved motorized scooters, bikes, and hoverboards.

Injuries rose 127 percent to over 77,200 injuries nationwide and 129 fatalities over the four-year period. And 48 percent of e-scooter riders were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. 

Follow These Safety Tips to Protect Yourself From Injury

Understanding safety concerns is vital to protecting yourself and others. Whether commuting to work, exploring local trails, or enjoying a leisurely ride around the bayou, here’s what you should know before getting on a shared bike or e-scooter:

  1. Familiarize yourself with Louisiana’s laws. In Louisiana, e-bikes are treated as bicycles under state law, with specific classes based on motor assistance speed limits. This means you should always wear the appropriate safety gear, observe and obey traffic laws, and maintain an awareness of your surroundings.
  2. Always wear a helmet. Even if it’s not always mandatory, wearing a helmet is a crucial safety measure because it has been shown to reduce the risk of all head injuries significantly. Choose a well-fitted helmet that meets reasonable safety standards – and never ride without it.
  3. Inspect your bike or e-scooter. Before you jet off, check the brakes, tire pressure, and lights. Even a quick, simple check can prevent common accidents. 
  4. Stay visible and use your signals. Wear bright clothing, use reflective gear, and ensure your bike or e-scooter has functioning lights. These precautions are vital for being seen by drivers and pedestrians, especially during early morning, late evening, or in poor weather conditions. 
  5. Use signals. Most bikes and scooters don’t have turn signals or brake lights, so you must signal with your hands. Always signal your turns and stops to alert other road users of your intentions. Doing so will help prevent confusion – and the collisions it can lead to.
  6. Use bike lanes whenever possible. When riding on the road, follow traffic signals and signs, and always ride in the direction of traffic.
  7. Keep your distance. Be careful when sharing the road with others. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. This precaution will give you enough time to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic. Otherwise, you could be caught off guard by an unexpected obstacle.
  8. Avoid distractions. Distractions are always dangerous, no matter what vehicle you’re riding or driving. Keep your attention on the road. Avoid using your phone, listening to loud music, or doing anything else that could distract you from your surroundings – and potential hazards. Staying alert will give you enough time to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic.
  9. Ride with caution. While you’re out riding, use the roads and paths respectfully. Yield to pedestrians, signal when passing other riders, and be mindful of your speed, especially in crowded or shared spaces. You may even find yourself in a situation where you need to back down—even if you have the right of way. Insisting on your rights as a cyclist is never worth putting yourself in danger.
  10. Know your limits. Ride at a comfortable speed and avoid risky maneuvers, especially in wet or icy conditions. Before heading into busy areas, familiarize yourself with the handling and braking of your shared bike or e-scooter.

Consider practicing in quieter, less congested parts of the city before venturing into heavier traffic. Dedicated bike paths are often ideal for getting the hang of a shared bike or e-scooter.

Have You Been in an Accident? We Can Help.Louisiana’s laws for shared bikes and e-scooters are designed to protect riders, pedestrians, and motorists alike. Even with taking all the safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If you wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.