GOVERNMENT

E-scooter bill would ban user lawsuits

Feb 19, 2020, 10:35 AM | Updated: 10:40 am
scooter...
A proposed bill would prevent E-scooter users from filing a lawsuit if injured while riding. (PHOTO: KSHB)
(PHOTO: KSHB)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A new E-scooter bill, proposed by a Utah legislator, would extend government immunity to the use of rental scooters.

E-scooter bill grants protections

Lawmakers say the goal is to protect local governments and school districts from lawsuits as the electric two-wheelers become more popular.

Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Highland, is proposing to place scooters in current immunity law under “recreational” activities. Brammer said he’s an occasional user of rental scooters and is actually trying to help the industry.

He believes local officials may not want to ban the scooters if they are placed inside government immunity law. That’s because they would no longer have to worry the scooters could lead to lawsuits in their jurisdictions.

The bill’s text indicates that riding an electronic rental scooter carries with it an inherent risk. Additionally, it includes:

any danger, condition, and potential for personal injury or property damage that is an integral and natural part of participating in a recreational activity.

UtahPolicy.com notes the recreational activity is happening on public land, differing it from skiing at a resort, for example.

Brammer is saying the bill’s intent isn’t to entirely control the local e-scooter market. It would not regulate where they can be used or ridden, which would still be under the control of local governments.

Hot topic

E-scooters and GREENBikes have both recently fallen under scrutiny around the Salt Lake area. In November, the Salt Lake City Council tried to regulate both following a slew of complaints.

At the time, they tossed around the idea of citizens reporting violations through an app. The council also discussed charging scooter companies if their riders went over the speed limit.

Most notably, they discussed banning people from using e-scooters and GreenBikes on sidewalks.

“[The current rules have] put the police in a pretty tough position…I want to figure out how to structure things to set them up for success,” said Transportation Division Director Jon Larsen in November.

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E-scooter bill would ban user lawsuits