VanMeveren Law Group — December 2019

Foundations 970

SOUTH 2038 Caribou Drive, Suite 101 Fort Collins, CO 80525

OLD TOWN 123 North College Ave., Suite 112 Fort Collins, CO 80524


Fort Collins Joins the E-Scooter Craze


As most of you know, electric bikes and scooters (e-bikes and e-scooters, respectively) are all the rage throughout Colorado’s Front Range communities. In the past six months, Fort Collins has also joined the party and has adopted two new pilot programs for the bikes and scooters. The first pilot program was implemented last spring, providing e-bike riders with some important rules and guidelines. Fort Collins has also launched a brand- new e-scooter program that provides a whole new set of rules applicable to the e-scooters. E-bikes are bicycles with two or three wheels that are fully operable with pedals but also have a small electric motor. E-bikes fall into three categories: Class 1, 2, and 3. Wisely, Fort Collins is not permitting the faster Class 3 e-bikes to travel on our paved trails, as Class 3 e-bikes can travel at speeds up to around 30 miles per hour and pose hazards to other people. However, Fort Collins is permitting the use of Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails, and the city encourages riders to abide by a courtesy speed limit of 15 mph. Trail etiquette and trail laws applicable to standard bikes also apply to e-bikes. During the one-year pilot program, conflicts and safety issues will be evaluated by park rangers, city staff, and volunteers in order to determine the best next step after the program is complete. E-scooters are newer to the FOCO scene, following a recent partnership between the city of Fort Collins and the e-scooter company Bird. For $1.00 to start and $0.33 per minute, Bird scooters are available to anyone who downloads the app. They can be found at various sites around the city. Here’s what you need to know before your first e-scooter ride. • Riding in natural areas and on unpaved trails is prohibited. • Riders must dismount and walk e-scooters before entering a crosswalk. • Parking e-scooters must be done in an upright fashion and only in designated parking zones on hard surfaces and/or near bicycle parking areas, provided the e-scooter doesn’t obscure the flow of pedestrian travel, block fire hydrants, or obstruct bus benches.

• Riding on sidewalks is permitted outside of dismount zones (but not on CSU campus property or designated city dismount zones). • Helmets are not required but are encouraged; helmets are available through the Bird app and at safety events. On top of these guidelines, Bird also requires riders to photograph their e-scooter at the end of their ride to record ride time and distance as well as to encourage responsible parking. Unfortunately, these fun little scooters come with a dark side. In 2017, they accounted for over 1,500 crashes in the U.S. In addition, scooter versus pedestrian and scooter versus motor vehicle conflicts are on the rise. Liability for crashes involving e-scooters is based on negligence principles, and, in Colorado, our comparative fault laws apply. In rare instances, e-scooters have been known to malfunction, causing serious injury or death and giving rise to product liability claims.

If you choose to ride an e-bike or e-scooter, remember to ride responsibly. Abide by the rules of the road and the guidelines that apply to these types of vehicles. If you are involved in a conflict or a crash involving an e-bike or e-scooter, contact an experienced lawyer who specializes in injury law as soon as possible.

–Bryan VanMeveren

970-495-9741 • 1

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