Electric scooters were all the rage in Calgary and Edmonton after their launch in the summer of 2019. Lime and Bird currently provide these e-scooters in both cities. While zooming around on these electric scooters has become a new favourite pastime for Calgarians and Edmontonians it hasn’t come without problems.
Unfortunately there have been more than a few accidents involving these e-scooters. This has included falls incidents involving pedestrians collisions with other scooters or bikes and even a few accidents with cars. So what happens if someone gets hurt? What if the scooter or other property gets damaged? Who’s responsible? If you’re held liable will your insurance cover you?
Charging these e-scooters is also largely based on users collecting and charging them in exchange for a fee. But again what happens if this causes a fire? What if an e-scooter is damaged while you charge it?
We’ll examine what happens if someone gets hurt or there is property damage when you’re using or charging these e-scooters.
Rules to Riding the E-Scooters
Following the rules when it comes to riding electric scooters can help you avoid fines injury property damage and help your case in the event something does happen. The e-scooters are limited to a speed of 20km/h. You must also be 18 years or older to use them and only one person per scooter is allowed. You’re not allowed to ride if you’re under the influence of any alcohol drugs or medications.
You’re also not allowed to park the e-scooters anywhere that will block anyone. You’re encouraged to park them by existing bike racks.
Calgary Electric Scooter Rules
In Calgary you can ride on the sidewalks pathways and bike lanes however you must yield to pedestrians and obey the traffic laws.
For a full list of Calgary’s rules see theCity of Calgary.
Edmonton Electric Scooter Rules
Unlike Calgary Edmonton’s e-scooters are allowed to operate on the roads if the speed limit is 50km/h or lower. They’re not allowed on the sidewalks. Bike lanes and pathways are allowed.
For a full list of Edmonton’s rules see theCity of Edmonton.
Bird’s Electric Scooter Sharing Service Rules
Bird’s rules for using their electric scooters include:
- Follow your local laws
- Do not park in a prohibited spot
- Report damage or malfunctions
- You must be the only user of the e-scooter and be at least 18 years old
- You must be a competent operator
Bird’srental agreementgives a full overview of everything that is and isn’t allowed.
Lime’s E-Scooter Sharing Service Rules
To use a lime e-scooter you must:
- Be the sole user of the scooter
- Be at least 18 years old
- Operate the scooter competently
- Follow local laws regarding e-scooters
- Don’t intentionally tamper with or damage the scooter
The full list of rules is outlined in theiruser agreement.
Breaking the Rules
If you’re caught breaking the city’s rules you can be issued a ticket and fined. You’ll be on the hook to cover these expenses.
If you break the rules of the sharing service provider you may be denied service. You can also be held responsible for any damage caused.
You’ll be on the hook to cover any city fines or if something happens and you’re not following the rules.
Your Liability Insurance Protection
Your property insurance (homeowner condo or renter insurance) usually includes liability protection. This means if someone gets hurt or has their property damaged due to an accident or your unintentional actions you may have help covering expenses. This can include damages defence costs settlements and judgement awards.
While you may have third party liability coverage car insurance policy it would not normally apply for a situation involving you operating an e-scooter.
If you don’t have a home condo or renter’s insurance policy you may not be covered for these types of liability claims.
Bird and Lime Liability Insurance Protection
Both Bird and Lime’s user agreements say that riders are liable for any damage or harm caused by their operation parking and charging of the e-scooters. However in a Globe and Mail article Lime states that anyone injured in an accident would be covered by its insurance although the details aren’t clear.
E-Scooter Insurance FAQ
Am I covered by my home insurance for e-scooter claims?
You may be covered by your home condo or renter’s insurance liability section of coverage. It will depend on the situation including if you were breaking city or provider rules as well as your intention. If you’re worried about a liability claim give your broker a call.
Am I covered if there’s damage to the electric scooter?
Lime and Bird require you to report any damage you see to the e-scooter via their apps. General wear and tear damage are expected by both e-scooter sharing operators.
However if there is damage that goes beyond this you may be charged up to the full value of the electric scooter plus fees. While electric scooters start at $200 Bird’s direct-to-consumer ones start at $1300.
You may be covered by your home insurance if you’re held liable for damage but this amount must exceed your deductible. It may not be worth submitting a claim because your home insurance rates will go up.
Am I covered if I get hurt while riding an e-scooter?
Both Bird and Lime state that they are not responsible for any injuries suffered while riding an e-scooter. However they may offer some help – contact the company directly if something happens.
Provincial health care coverage and any private health insurance you have (such as through an employer) would help cover medical expenses. Exactly what’s covered will depend on your plans.
The liability coverage in your home and auto insurance is tailored towards injuries to others so it won’t cover you in this situation.
What if you get hurt because of someone else? You may be able to get some recourse though you may need to fight for it through the legal system. Keep in mind that if you were breaking the rules or at fault it is even more unlikely that you will be successful. Because e-scooters are relatively new there’s little precedent.
What happens if I get hurt by someone else operating an e-scooter?
If you’re hurt by another person riding an e-scooter in addition to your own health care coverage you would need to talk to a personal injury lawyer. It’s unclear if Lime or Bird would willingly provide any compensation or help.
If I hurt someone else while riding an e-scooter am I covered?
According to Bird and Lime you would assume all responsibility for injuries caused to others.
If you did accidentally injure someone you may be covered by your home condo or renter’s insurance liability protection. It will depend on your policy insurer and the situation. You may not have coverage if you were breaking any laws or rules of the sharing service.
Am I covered if I park the e-scooter and someone trips and gets hurt?
This is more of a grey area however Bird and Lime may hold you responsible if you park an e-scooter in any way prohibited in their user agreement. This includes parking an e-scooter in the following ways:
- Blocks people walking biking or driving
- Blocks an entrance or exit
- Blocks access to the scooter (such as in a locked area)
- Is on private property
- Is not in an approved public space (i.e. within 5m of a fire hydrant or on a ramp)
Because this territory is so new there is no precedent for how such an injury would be handled. If you were held liable your home condo or renter’s insurance may cover you or may not.
Am I covered if there is damage caused to the e-scooter when I’m charging it?
Both Bird and Lime may charge you if the electric scooters are damaged in the process of recharging them other than normal wear and tear. Both companies also state that you are liable for any damages or injuries resulting from charging or attempting to charge the e-scooters in their user agreements.
You may be covered by your home insurance if the worst happens however it will depend on your individual insurance company and policy. You may be denied coverage because you are getting paid to charge the scooters. If you’re planning to do this it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your broker.
Our Advice with E-Scooters and Insurance
First always make sure you’re operating the electric scooters safely within the laws of your city and following the rules of the sharing company.
Second talk to your broker or insurance company to see if you’d be covered in case of an e-scooter accident that causes an injury or damage to someone else.
Finally inform your broker and insurance company if you’re planning on charging the scooters.
If you have any questions reach out to your broker.