Suit Filed in California Says Scooters Rented by Uber, Segway Don’t Have Turn Signals

September 25, 2020

A class action lawsuit has been filed against several scooter rental companies, including Uber and Segway, because the scooters don’t have turn signals and the makers don’t warn consumers about that danger.

The suit was filed on Thursday on behalf of Erin Norman, a Colorado resident who reportedly dislocated her hip and broke several bones while turning on a rented Jump scooter in San Francisco, and all others similarly situated in the U.S. District Court in Northern California.

The suit names Uber Technologies Inc., Neutron Holdings Inc. (Lime), Segway Inc. and Xioami USA LLC.

Scooter rental companies like Lime, Bird and Jump have proliferated over the past few years in big cities throughout the U.S. So have lawsuits related to scooters.

A New Jersey city ended its electronic scooter pilot program last year after a teenage boy died while riding one. A class action was filed in 2018 in Los Angeles County Superior Court accusing Bird Rides Inc. and Lime of gross negligence, claiming the companies knew the scooters were dangerous and deployed them in a way that was certain to cause injuries.

According to the lawsuit, riding the scooters safely requires both hands, so using hand signaling when turning becomes dangerous.

“Both the Manufacturing Defendants who designed and sold the scooters to Uber and Lime are well aware that these scooters will be operated on city streets and that riders must obey all traffic laws while riding,” the suit states. “Further, Defendants are well aware that virtually every state, including California, requires bicycle or scooter operators to employ hand signals when making turns if their bicycle or scooter is not equipped with an alternate means of signaling a turn. Jump does not warn its customers that following traffic laws will require operation of a scooter in a manner that is well known to be dangerous to passengers.”

Uber, Neutron Holdings, Segway and Xioami have all been reached out to for comment.

The attorneys who filed the lawsuit were not immediately available for comment.

The suit alleges that the defendants designed the scooters to be used on city streets where signaling is required by law, but they did not equip the scooters with a way to safely signal a turn while being operated using both hands nor have the defendants warned scooter users about the danger.

It charges the defendants with negligence and gross negligence, as well as product liability.

“As a result of the design defects, failure to warn, breach of express and implied warranties, and negligence of Defendants, Plaintiff was severely injured while riding a Jump scooter and operating it in a manner prescribed by the laws of California,” the suit states.

Norman is bringing this suit both to compensate her for personal injuries, and the suit seeks a public injunction against enjoining the defendants from selling or leasing scooters in the California without first providing necessary warnings or providing a safe means of legal operation.

Norman was operating a Jump scooter on Oct. 29, 2019, at the intersection of Pierce and Haight streets in San Francisco when she took one hand off the handlebars of the scooter to signal her intent to turn. She lost control of the scooter and fell onto the concrete, and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, according to the suit.

“Ms. Norman’s injuries included a hip dislocation and multiple related fractures which required a complex emergency surgery lasting hours,” the suit states. “These injuries have required many months of medical care and intense physical therapy which is ongoing even nine months after the accident. Substantial future medical care is anticipated including the prospect of multiple hip replacement surgeries over her lifetime. Ms. Norman’s quality of life has been unquestionably diminished.”

The class action includes all people in California who will rent a scooter from one of the defendants.

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