Shared bike and scooter companies are freaking out over a new bill in California. The shared and scooter companies in California are urging state legislators not to be in support of the bill that would threaten the very existence of micro-mobility in the state.
The bill, AB 1286, would not allow companies to include language in their terms of service asking riders to waive liability for injuries. A provision shared companies claim would essentially force these companies to shut down if they are enacted. This bill has been in the coven before the pandemic season. First, it was brought up in February 2019 and passed a few months later in May by the California State Assembly.
Shared Bike And Scooter Companies Are Freaking Out Over A New Bill In California
According to leginfo.legislature.ca.gov Shared bike and scooter companies are freaking out over the new bill passed in the California state of Assembly. It is the bill, AB 1286.
This bill was first enacted in February 2019 and a few months later in May, the bill was passed by the California State Assembly. The bill laid dormant for months until recently, when it passed a committee vote in the Senate. The passing of the bill prompted the bike and scooter industry in the state of California to spring into action.
Here is the section of the bill that gives the micro-mobility operators more concerns: The Shared mobility provider agreement between the provider and a user shall not contain a provision by which the user waives, releases, or in any way limits their legal rights or remedies under the agreement.
However, the Bike and scooter operators argue this will expose them to lawsuits from riders who are injured while using their vehicles. This Includes those injuries caused by poor road conditions, reckless driving, or rider negligence. The ability to waive liability for injuries is legal protection granted to other recreation and transportation rental businesses, such as ski resorts, car rental agencies, and white water rafting companies say the companies. Without that protection, they can be litigated out of existence, they say.
To be sure, riders who sign liability waivers can still seek compensation from shared mobility companies for injuries and safety violations. Just as in the case of Lime and Bird were both companies were sued in San Francisco Superior Court recently by dozens of customers who were injured while riding their scooters. This information is provided at Washington Post
Reaction from the Shared and Scooter companies To the Legislator
In response, the shared mobility industry and their allies have issued a flurry of letters warning state legislators that the bill could have the unintended consequence of killing off the shared bike and scooter industry in California.
However, “Other cities around the world have recognized this phenomenon and are rushing to expand access to clean, socially distant micro-mobility,” a coalition of companies including Uber, Lyft, Bird, Lime, Spin, and others, write in a letter to Senate leaders in California. “But AB 1286 would instead legislate it out of existence, sending California down a regressive path and adding tens of millions of car trips each year to our cities’ streets.” There is more info at redirectingat
Bike advocates agree the bill would irreparably damage the shared mobility industry at a time when ridership is picking up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. AB 1286 would “stifle the growth of a thriving industry at a time when the state is in the greatest need of these services,” the North American Bikeshare Association and People for Bikes, two leading bike advocacy groups in the US, write in a joint letter.
Shared bikes and scooters can replace car trips and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the groups argue. And the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for more alternate modes of transportation for people who want to avoid crowded subways and buses.
They also claim the bill will render their businesses practically uninsurable, and the main insurance provider for the shared mobility industry is backing them up. Apollo, the insurance provider for Lime, Bird, Wheels, Razor, Spin, and Jump, wrote in a brief letter to the California Senate that it “would not be able to ensure the micro-mobility industry in California for the foreseeable future” if the bill passes.
According to the bill lead sponsor, an Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi said when the bill was first introduced, the intention was to protect riders as well as pedestrians and others from injury while riding shared bikes and scooters. He noted that four scooter riders were killed in recent weeks and cited in a Journal of the American Medical Association study from the Journals it was discovered that about 249 scooter riders were treated from injuries in just two Southern California emergency rooms last year. Of those injured, 96 percent were riders, 40 percent suffered head injuries, and only 5.7 percent of them wore helmets. Information regarding this is at Jamanetwork.
Report of the Press conference concerning Scooter mobility
The “E-scooters and other shared mobility devices can be fun, affordable, and eco-friendly ways to get around,” said Muratsuchi, extracted from the press conference release last year (https://a66.asmdc.org/press-releases/legislation-protect-users-e-scooters-and-other-shared-mobility-devices-passes) “However, like any new innovation, we need to make sure it is safe both for users and for pedestrians, with basic consumer protections. This bill would protect consumers of these services as well as the general public by requiring cities and counties to adopt basic safety rules, as well as providing for consumer protections that would protect users and third parties in the event of an injury.” (A spokesperson for the assembly member did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Scooter and bike companies have encouraged riders to wear helmets, as well as lobbied city governments to spend more money installing protected bike lanes and other street infrastructure that has been shown to improve safety for riders. Read more on this article at https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/25/21400842/bike-scooter-california-bill-ab1286-liability-waiver