Electric scooters may look like an easy and convenient way to travel. But as they move into Massachusetts, there are definitely words of caution for riders.
Attorney David W. White was interviewed as part of NBC Boston’s coverage on e-scooters. He told NBC Boston’s Ally Donnelly that riders are often unaware of how vulnerable they are. If they are injured, they may look to their health insurance plan for coverage. But if they hit a pedestrian or cause property damage, they are on their own.
“You’re putting everything in the hands of the company and preserving essentially no rights for yourself whatsoever,” Attorney White said.
When riders accept a scooter company’s user agreement, they agree to resolve any issues through confidential arbitration with the e-scooter company and the maximum award is $100 – no matter what the situation. In most cases, when someone is seriously injured, they may require medical expenses as well as other damages, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.
But he said, “The most they will ever give you if they give you anything is $100.”
NBC Boston interviewed scooter riders in Brookline who admitted they hadn’t read the user agreement. While it appeared tiny on a cell phone, NBC Boston found one agreement actually printed out to 50 pages.
Attorney White said, “Our legislature is a decade behind this issue. Our insurance industry is a decade behind this issue. Everyone should care about this.”
The Boston City Council approved scooter regulations last March. Meanwhile, the Town of Brookline launched its e-scooter pilot program last April, bringing 200 scooters to the road. The program continues through mid-November.