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E-scooters rolling out in Tacoma

A man riding an electric scooter whips past a building in the background.

Electric scooters are back in Tacoma, WA, with changes that city officials say will avoid the problems that occurred during a 2018 pilot program. Will the new approach work? Here's what Tacoma residents should know about this latest effort.

Why didn't the old e-scooter program work?

A 2018 program that introduced electric scooters to the streets of Tacoma did not work out as promoted. Among other problems, the city had to deal with numerous scooters that were thrown in the water and sent to the bottom of Commencement Bay.

Officials had previously said they did not expect the scooters to have a negative impact on the environment, but they also noted one of the scooter companies working with the city at the time, Lime, was slow to react to their concerns.

This time, officials said, they are prepared to deal with the deployment of as many as 750 scooters on city streets by California-based company Razor. They believe they have a better plan in place.

They think Razor:

  • is more responsive about working with the city
  • is employing better hiring practices
  • has an improved plan for distribution of scooters

Officials also believe the timing is right, noting it ties in with the loosening of pandemic restrictions.

“We as a city of Tacoma are just so excited to see more people out and about and enjoying the streets and delighted that people have an additional transportation option,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Kristina Walker. “From a COVID perspective, being outside is a safe, safe activity, so it kind of fits in well with the reopening.”

How the new program will work

The new program allows motorized foot scooters in Tacoma:

  • On sidewalks and paved trails, although they must yield the right of way to pedestrians
  • Within bicycle facilities, including bicycle lanes and on bicycle tracks.
  • On roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.
  • On roads, sidewalks, paths or trails in parks, unless prohibited.

While riding at night, bicycles and scooters must include a front white light and rear red reflector. A red rear light is also recommended. Riders are encouraged to wear helmets, although they are not legally required.

In addition, Razor will employ efforts to engage the entire community. These include an affordability program for underprivileged residents, cash payment options for people without smartphones, and multilanguage outreach.

Injured e-scooter riders have rights

No matter how careful you are while riding an e-scooter in Tacoma, your safety is largely in the hands of other motorists.

Drivers may not see you because they're speeding. Or, they may be distracted because they're talking or texting on a cellphone. Regardless, you are mostly unprotected and at risk of suffering major injuries if you get hit by a car while riding an electric scooter.

In all likelihood, the driver who hit you is going to blame you for the crash. Adding to the emotional, mental, and physical stress is an insurance company that cares more about protecting its bottom line than paying you appropriate compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related damages.

At Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC, our law firm has the knowledge and experience to handle every aspect of your claim and fight for maximum compensation — all while treating you with the professionalism and compassion you deserve.

Let us deal with the insurance company so you can focus your energy on your recovery. We also help those who have been injured as a result of e-scooter malfunctions and defects, as well as riders who get hurt due to unsafe road surfaces (e.g., potholes, road debris, etc.).

Contact us today to find out what an experienced e-scooter accident lawyer serving Tacoma and Seattle can do for you.

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