OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While more families are getting out to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, electric scooters are starting to flood city streets.
Rental scooters can be found in hundreds of cities across the United States including Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and Stillwater.
State officials warn that there are a few things you should know before you hop on one of them.
According to Consumer Reports, eight people in the U.S. have died while using a rent-by-the-minute dockless electric scooter since the fall of 2017. In addition to the deaths, authorities say there have been numerous injuries as a result of accidents on the devices.
Officials with the Oklahoma Insurance Department say your health insurance could cover the cost of medical bills, but you might be left with a bill if you cause damage to someone else’s property.
Most car insurance policies do not cover vehicles with less than four wheels, and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may not cover motorized bike or scooter accidents.
Officials say the two largest scooter companies in the U.S. generally place the responsibility for accidents on riders, meaning that damages will likely fall on your shoulders because of the terms and conditions in the app.
State officials stress that you might be able to add an umbrella policy to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
However, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready says there are a few other ways to protect yourself on an electric scooter:
- Wear a helmet: While it is not required by law in Oklahoma to wear a helmet while riding a scooter or a bicycle, it is highly recommended.
- Operate the scooter in right-hand lanes and bike lanes where possible: Your agreement with your scooter rental company will tell you to use streets and bike lanes. Riding motorized scooters on sidewalks is illegal in most cities, and you can be cited for doing so. Know where you can ride before you hop on.
- Keep your eyes on the road: You may be tempted to share photos or videos of your new adventure on social media while operating. Always pay attention to the road.
- Inspect the scooter before you ride: Check to make sure the brakes are working properly before taking off.
If you have questions about other insurance issues, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071.