An electric scooter, or e-scooter, is the latest vehicle you may encounter on Kansas City’s roads and bicycle lanes. E-scooter popularity skyrocketed with the introduction of Bird scooters in KC in July 2018. Unfortunately, electric scooter riders could be at risk of serious vehicle collisions with drivers who do not understand – or respect – their rights to the road. As a driver in Kansas City, it is your duty to operate safely around all other road users, including those on electric scooters. Driving more cautiously around e-scooters should be a top priority.
If you were involved in an electronic scooter collision, contact a Kansas City car accident lawyer to find out what your legal options are.
Treat E-Scooters Like Bicycles
In the eyes of Kansas City law, e-scooters have the same rights to the road as bicycles. They may travel in the roadway and use bicycle lanes. Although many drivers express frustration at e-scooters in the road, riders do not have a choice. Section 70-253 of the law in KC prohibits e-scooters from riding on sidewalks. If a bicycle lane is available and safe to use, e-scooter riders must use the bicycle lane rather than riding in the road.
As a driver, do not let your frustration result in unsafe maneuvers around e-scooters. Despite the city’s encouragement of helmet use, e-scooter riders are largely vulnerable to serious injuries in vehicle collisions. Causing a scooter accident through unsafe driving could make you liable for the victim’s damages. Think of e-scooters like bicycles. Do not impede on a scooter user’s right to the roads in Kansas City.
Leave Extra Following Distance
In Kansas City, drivers should leave at least three feet of distance between their vehicles and all sides of an electric scooter. The same rule is true for navigating around bicyclists. Leave three feet to the rear of the electric scooter if you are following behind a rider. Once it is safe to pass the electric scooter, do so while leaving at least three feet of distance between the side of your car and the scooter. Do not swerve back in front of a scooter rider or cut one off and hit your brakes. This could cause a deadly collision.
Signal Your Intents
It is helpful for e-scooter riders to know what to expect from your vehicle. Signal your intent to turn, and make sure your brake lights are working correctly before driving. Scooter riders can look for the turn or brake signals to help them know how to react to changing roadways situations. Staying predictable and following the rules can help you prevent dangerous scooter accidents. It can also help you avoid liability if a collision does occur.
Do Not Open Doors Into Oncoming Scooters
Dooring a scooter rider, or opening a car door into an oncoming electric scooter, could result in unseating the rider and major personal injuries. As a motorist, you must wait until it is reasonably safe to open your motor vehicle door. This means waiting until it will not interfere with the movement of other traffic. You also cannot leave your door open for any period of time longer than you must to load or unload passengers.
Yield Right-of-Way When Appropriate
As you would with a bicycle, yield e-scooter riders the right-of-way at intersections and crosswalks when applicable. If the e-scooter rider has the right to proceed through a green light or stop sign, come to a complete stop and let the scooter complete its action. Do not assume the rider will follow traffic laws, however.
Make eye contact with the rider at intersections, if possible. Show the scooter rider you see him or her, and then slowly pull out if it is your turn to proceed. Be ready to hit your brakes should the scooter rider break the rules and pull out when he or she does not have the right-of-way.
Kansas City wishes to cultivate an electric-scooter-friendly community. Embrace e-scooters like Bird or Lime, as they are likely here to stay. Drive with the utmost safety and care around scooter users.
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