Scooters and e-bikes have given city-dwellers more options for getting around in recent years. They’ve also given personal injury lawyers a new source of clients as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians collide — literally and legally.
These new modes of transportation will be heavily featured at this year’s Blockbuster, the annual two-day continuing education seminar from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Jan. 30 and 31 in Denver.
“We’re having a whole fleet of speakers on that topic,” including Catherine Lerer, who has been featured as in expert in national and local news, said Ross Ziev, seminar co-chair for the CTLA. Lerer made headlines in 2018 when she filed a class-action lawsuit against motorized scooter companies on behalf of plaintiffs injured in scooter-related accidents in California, where Lerer is based. The scooters have been “causing injuries left and right” in the West Coast state, Ziev said. “People are not following the rules in California, and we’re starting to see that in Denver as well,” he added.
“As personal injury attorneys, we need to figure out who is ultimately responsible if something goes wrong,” Ziev said, adding there are lots of questions about who, if anyone, is ensuring the scooters on the streets are in working order and are properly charged.
Rolf Eisinger, manager for Denver’s Vision Zero program to prevent traffic-related deaths, and Andrew Iltis, senior manager for transportation and mobility at Downtown Denver Partnership, will also speak about the city’s transportation safety efforts and ordinances.
“I think one of the topics that will come out of the Downtown Denver Partnership discussion … is that a lot of these cities were not prepared for the various types of micro mobility,” said Blockbuster co-chair Jennifer O’Connell, referring to bikes and scooters. “And the private companies just sort of dropped them into cities without warning.”
The result was that there “wasn’t an opportunity to really put a lot of thought into ordinances,” she said, adding that Denver’s ordinances on scooters have changed multiple times since the bikes debuted.