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Cities around the United States have come to embrace bike-share and scooter-share programs. Bird is one of the leading competitors in this industry and piqued the attention of consumers when its sizable black electric scooters began appearing in cities all over the place.
Bird is designed with simplicity in mind: If you download the company’s app onto your smartphone and pay a fee, you can ride around town on an electric scooter. Riders are charged a fee of $1 to rent plus an additional 15 cents per minute that the scooter is unlocked. Depending on how far you need to travel, renting a Bird scooter can be a lot cheaper than calling an Uber or a Lyft. Because the scooters are electric, you don’t have to worry about exerting any energy to operate them.
It can be really convenient to have access to electric scooters at your fingertips. What makes Bird even more inviting to consumers is the fact that the scooters are dockless, so riders save time looking for specific places to lock and leave them. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to dockless scooter services.
The biggest issue is that because dockless scooters don’t have to be physically located in a designated area in order to be locked and left behind, riders are free to leave them wherever they please. Although this is fast and easy riders, everyone else is greatly inconvenienced. Scooters have been left on sidewalks, in front lawns, on the side of the street, and in all sorts of other inappropriate places.
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Like many other scooter-sharing companies, Bird has drafted a user agreement that all riders must agree to abide by in order to rent a scooter. This user agreement includes a binding arbitration agreement, meaning that you can’t sue Bird if a dispute arises. If you are riding a Bird scooter and end up being injured, you are required to resolve this problem through binding arbitration. This means that you and a representative from Bird would meet with a third-party arbitrator who would hear each side’s argument and make a decision. This decision is binding.
The main issues with binding arbitration are that decisions made by the arbitrator cannot be appealed and everything takes place behind closed doors. If you are interested in maintaining your privacy, then the fact that what is said during arbitration is not a matter of public record won’t hurt you. If, however, you have been injured and want the public to be aware of this injury, arbitration will prevent that.
Bird’s binding arbitration clause has a rather unusual provision that can be beneficial to its riders. Unlike other scooter-sharing companies, Bird gives all of its riders the opportunity to opt out of the binding arbitration clause. If you don’t want to be required to handle any disputes against Bird in arbitration, you can send a written letter to an address specified in the agreement to opt out. However, you only have a certain amount of time to do so. You have 30 days from your first use of Bird services (your first ride) to write to Bird and opt out of the binding arbitration clause. Once those 30 days have passed, you no longer have the option to opt out of the binding arbitration clause. This means that long-time users of Bird are bound by this clause and have no option to opt out.
If you opt out of the binding arbitration clause, you can sue Bird for a dispute that may arise from your use of its scooters. That said, it would be wise to consult with an attorney about the benefits and downsides of opting out of an arbitration agreement. If you have any questions about Bird’s binding arbitration clause and how it (or its opt-out option) may affect you, contact the May Firm today!
If you are bound by the arbitration clause and you have a claim against Bird, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
Riders of Bird scooters don’t have many options for legal recourse against Bird unless they opt out of the binding arbitration clause within the first 30 days of using the app. Fortunately, pedestrians have many more options if they find themselves injured by a Bird scooter. Pedestrians haven’t agreed to accept the terms of Bird’s user agreements and haven’t waived their right to a lawsuit against the company. If you are a pedestrian injured by Bird, you have the option to file a lawsuit.
Pedestrians can also file claims against Bird riders who ride recklessly or carelessly discard their scooters if their actions result in an injury. Riders are responsible for the injuries that they cause while using a Bird scooter and may also be held responsible if they leave a scooter in a poorly chosen location and someone gets hurt.
Liability doesn’t always end when a scooter is locked and left for the next rider to pick up. Riders are expected to leave their Bird scooters in a safe, legal location when they are done using it. Typically, a bike rack is such a location. Unfortunately, many riders often leave their scooters in the middle of the sidewalk, on the side of the road, and even on private property. When scooters are left in random, potentially dangerous locations, injuries can be inevitable.
Have you ever tripped over something that you didn’t expect to be in the way? Unfortunately, this has come
to happen quite a bit with Bird scooters. Riders just leave scooters in the middle of a sidewalk, and unsuspecting pedestrians walk around the corner and trip on them. Some may walk away without injury, while others may
end up with a broken wrist or ankle.
Bird riders who leave their scooters in inappropriate locations at the end of their ride may be held liable for any injuries that someone else sustains as a result. If you were hurt by a poorly placed Bird scooter, contact
the May Firm today!
People can be careless. How often do you see someone riding a bike or a scooter where they shouldn’t, like on the sidewalk? If a rider isn’t obeying traffic laws, they run the risk of hurting someone. Bird encourages all of its riders to follow the rules of the road and to only ride scooters in designated areas, such as bike paths. Unfortunately, riders don’t always listen to the
company’s warnings. If a rider operates a Bird scooter inappropriately and hurts you as a result, you may have
a claim against them.
Although little-known to the general public, Bird was a sponsor of Assembly Bill 2989, legislation intended to eliminate helmet requirements for scooter riders over the age of 18 across the state of California. Approved by Governor Brown in September 2018 and effective in January 2019, AB-2989 eliminates state requirements for all electric scooter riders over the age of 18 to wear helmets. Does that sound very safety oriented?
We don’t think so!
Like its competitors, Bird has been in hot water with city officials after riders have left its scooters in random locations. Because Bird scooters are dockless, they can be left just about anywhere, including sidewalks and private property. The problem is that riders abandoning Bird scooters wherever they please creates safety concerns for pedestrians and motorists alike, depending on where the scooters are left. If these scooters are left on private property, property owners are stuck either relocating the scooters themselves or waiting until someone (usually a new rider) comes and gets them.
Although dockless scooters are designed to be convenient, they have become a nuisance and a safety risk in the cities they operate in. Bird has been subject to much criticism in recent months due to riders’ ability to leave their scooters wherever they please without repercussions.
If you are riding a Bird scooter and end up being hurt by someone else who is also riding a Bird scooter, you may have a claim against them. Using a rented scooter rather than their own does not remove the responsibility from their shoulders. If another Bird rider acts irresponsibly and you end up injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the May Firm to discuss your recovery options.
Motor vehicle operators cannot legally run you over or otherwise cause you injury. The fact that you were riding a Bird scooter at the time of your injury does not preclude you from seeking damages from the driver of the vehicle. If you were riding along on a Bird scooter and were struck by a car or truck, the May Firm can help you to recover the compensation that you deserve.
Because Bird has included a binding arbitration clause in its user agreement, it is not likely that you will hear much in the news about riders suing the company for injuries that they sustained while riding a Bird scooter. However, because there is the option to opt out of this provision of the user agreement, these types of claims are not entirely impossible. Regardless of the method used to resolve disputes, Bird has not made a splash in the news due to disputes with its riders.
Bird has attracted some negative attention from the public for reasons unrelated to lawsuits. To date, cities have not always been particularly warm and welcoming to scooter-share companies. From operating without permits to sponsoring anti-helmet legislation, Bird is no stranger to media controversy.
Bird has had a fair bit of legal trouble since the company has begun to operate without mandatory permits in cities across the United States. A fair amount of media attention has been given to this problem — arguably more attention than some of Bird’s competitors have received.
Bird has struck a nerve with cities all over the country by setting up shop without permits — sometimes without even contacting the host city at all! The city of St. Louis required Bird to pull its scooters from city streets after only a week of operating without permits after Milwaukee informed the company that it could not lawfully operate on its sidewalks or roadways the month before. Milwaukee actually went so far as to sue Bird in federal court to compel the company to remove its scooters from the city.
In California, Bird has faced criminal sanctions for refusing to obtain operating permits. In December of 2017, the city of Santa Monica filed a nine-count misdemeanor criminal complaint against Bird for operating its scooters without city approval, ignoring citations requiring the company to obtain proper operating permits, and refusing to remove its scooters from city streets. In February 2018, Bird plead no contest to those charges and agreed to pay more than $300,000 in fines in addition to securing proper operating permits.
Some of California’s largest cities have been unwelcoming to Bird, even after the company has applied for permits. As of August 2018, the city of San Francisco declined to provide Bird with the permits necessary for the company to operate within the city limits. That means Bird scooters cannot legally be rented and operated there.
The May Firm believes that companies should be held responsible if their products or services cause someone to be injured. Scooter-share companies that allow their products to be used by irresponsible riders also should be held responsible for any injuries that someone else may suffer as a result. Binding arbitration isn’t everyone’s first choice to resolve a conflict, but it can be effective if handled correctly. If you are bound by Bird’s binding arbitration clause, you can still succeed on a claim against the company in arbitration. If, however, you are not bound by this clause, you have the option to file a lawsuit and litigate your claim publicly. If you have been injured while riding a scooter from Bird, contact the May Firm today! We’ll take some time to sit down and assess your options to get you on the best road to recovery.
If you found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and were hurt by a Bird rider or perhaps by the Bird scooter itself after it was locked and left in a bad location, the rider may be liable for your injuries. Give the May Firm a call so that we can sit down and go over the facts of your case. We will assess all of your legal options to recover the compensation that you deserve. You shouldn’t be left to suffer alone.
Disclaimer: Information on this page is designed for general information purposes only and should not be interpreted as being legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. You should always consult with an attorney before making a decision about your case. Pages are updated periodically, but information provided on this page may not be up to date as circumstances may change over time. Please see our LEGAL DISCLAIMERS page for additional legal disclaimers.