Who’s Liable in Oregon for Accidents Involving Electric Scooters?

The emergence of electric scooters (often called “e-scooters”) across the country has given rise to both supporters and detractors. On the one hand, e-scooters provide increased mobility over short distances at a low cost. Electric scooters are arguably better for the environment than some forms of transportation and may help reduce the number of cars on the road and the traffic and pollution they cause. On the other hand, many people have complained about scooters zooming by on sidewalks, being haphazardly abandoned, and creating unpleasant aesthetics.

But whether you are a lover or a hater, there is another issue - safety. Accidents involving electric scooters occur in a number of different ways, which leads us to the question presented by this article: Who’s liable in Oregon for accidents involving electric scooters?

Electric Scooter Accidents

Electric scooters are involved in a variety of accident types. Sometimes the rider strikes a pedestrian. In some instances, scooter operators have one-vehicle crashes and injure themselves. Of course, there are also accidents in which electric scooters and automobiles crash with one another.

Doctors across the country have noticed an increase in injuries related to e-scooter accidents. The Washington Post reports that doctors from numerous emergency rooms in states throughout the United States have reported rising numbers of injuries related to these scooters.

Oregon Law on Electric Scooter Operation

Perhaps the best way to reduce injuries arising from electric scooter crashes is to better regulate their use. In Oregon, the state has passed into law such legislation. Important limitations include the following:

  • Electric scooter operators must yield to pedestrians
  • An electric scooter may not exceed 15 miles per hour
  • It is illegal to ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk
  • Electric scooter operators must be at least 16 years of age
  • It is illegal to ride an electric scooter in crosswalks 
  • An operator must use a bicycle lane or path if it exists, unless prohibited by local ordinance
  • Electric scooter operators must wear a helmet
  • Electric scooters are not permitted on roads with a speed limit exceeding 25 miles per hour

These bullet points represent a few highlights of applicable law. Other restrictions can be viewed at O.R.S. Sections 814.510 - 814.536. It’s also important to review local ordinances before riding in a municipality.

Who’s Liable for Accidents Involving Electric Scooters?

When evaluating e-scooter accidents, liability is determined by ordinary concepts of negligence. After considering all the facts and circumstances surrounding an accident, it must be determined who, if anyone, caused injury to another as a result of his or her negligence.

For example, an electric scooter rider who rides on a crowded sidewalk at a high rate of speed and strikes a pedestrian would likely be determined to be negligent and could be held liable for the personal injuries to the pedestrian.

On the other hand, consider an e-scooter rider who is obeying all traffic regulations and rides in the bike lane at a reasonable speed. If a car driver negligently strikes the scooter and injures the operator, the automobile driver could be held liable for the personal injuries sustained by the electric scooter operator.

Call with Questions

At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, our experienced Oregon personal injury lawyers evaluate negligence claims every day. We know how to gather relevant evidence and analyze the facts and the law. If you give us a call, we will be happy to answer any questions you have about a recent electric scooter accident. We believe that the only way to keep the roads safe for everyone is to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.


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