The sudden arrival of thousands of electric scooters in Indianapolis in June, and happy commuters that immediately started using them to get from A to B, were a big surprise to the city that continues to ruffle some feathers. Indianapolis is the latest city where California-based scooter providers Bird and Lime are distributing their competing transport products. The scooters disappeared for a short time while both companies made changes to their programs to meet Indianapolis’ requirements. Now, the streets are once again full of green and red scooters. But drivers and scooter riders alike might not be totally clear on the rules for using them. Here are the current rules for riding electric scooters in Indianapolis, plus what safety features the scooters need to have.
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Indianapolis Electric Scooter Laws
Indianapolis adopted the following rules for Bird and Lime electric scooters:
- Any company operating an electric scooter service must secure a license to operate
- Licensed companies must pay a fee of $15,000 per year, plus $1 per scooter per day. This is to pay for law enforcement and the maintenance of bike lanes
- Companies must provide open information to the city, including usage figures and scooter serial numbers
- All scooters must be equipped with lights, a pedometer, and either a bell or a horn.
- Licensed companies must hold liability insurance to protect the city, which would otherwise be liable for any accidents
- Scooter operators must also maintain a 24-hour service line
Indianapolis Scooter Safety Education and Enforcement
The city of Indianapolis issued a safety flyer illustrating safe use of electric scooters and sharing that they should not be ridden on trails like the Monon, Cultural Trail, or Canal Trail, or on the sidewalk. However, riding in the street as required has already led to a few accidents and injuries. In July, one man riding from Broad Ripple to Downtown hit a pothole near 22nd and Meridian and ended up with a broken orbital bone and a dozen stitches. Then, on the very first day the scooters were reintroduced to the city, another man was struck by a vehicle that was pulling out of a parking garage downtown.
Because helmet rental stations sometimes promised by the apps are not actually in Indianapolis yet, riding the scooters without wearing a helmet is sometimes easier than riding them safely. It isn’t yet clear whether the companies are liable for injuries that would result from someone not having access to a helmet through the app when promised. In other situations, the state of the road and the city’s failure to correct a reported issue might cause further injury.
For all these reasons, the citizens of Indianapolis should use these new, fun tools with caution, follow all advised safety practices and laws of the road as motorized traffic, and contact an experienced Indianapolis injury attorney if you or a loved one is injured using an electric scooter in our city. The details of each case are complicated, but we’re here to listen to your story and serve as advocates.
Have you been injured in a scooter accident? Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has an experienced team and our Indianapolis scooter accident lawyer can help you explore your options.