Rep. Pryor has introduced HB 1036 concerning “shared mobility devices.” Such a device is defined as one that: (1) has at least two (2) wheels in contact with the ground with a floorboard for the user to stand on when using the device; and (2) is propelled by a motor at not more than twenty (20) miles per hour. I assume this is primarily a response to the recent infestation of motorized Bird scooters. Vendors of such shared mobility devices are those who make the devices available to the public for consideration. Vendors would be liable “for the total cost of property damage or
bodily injury suffered by a person in connection with the use or presence of the vendor’s shared mobility device.” They would also be required to maintain liability insurance to cover the loss and publicize phone numbers for making claims.
I don’t see this going anywhere, but I definitely see where the concern comes from. Emergency room people are, at least anecdotally, reporting a lot of visits from people who get injured riding the scooters. They are being thrown in water ways, blocking streets and sidewalks. I know a fair number of people like them, and they are being championed as a more environmentally friendly way of covering “the last mile.” But, at the same time, the companies’ business model seems to be externalizing a lot of costs onto the general public. Legislation such as this bill seeks to internalize those costs — make the company bear the cost of operations so that the cost of the scooters can be reflected in the price and the market will have better information for evaluating the costs and benefits of this kind of transportation.
In any legislation governing these scooters, I’d recommend something negating any click wrap arbitration requirements in their terms of service and permitting disputes to be litigated in the courts of any county where damage or injury occurs.