E-Scooters… What’s An Employer To Do?

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier

I remember driving downtown to visit a client this past summer.  I was waiting at the traffic light at Light and Lombard streets and must have seen at least a dozen people riding by on scooters.  For better or worse, I had no clue until that day that electric scooters (or e-scooters) were a thing.

They have quickly descended upon many major cities.  They are app-based scooters that permit a user to ride across the city, up to 15 miles per hour, then discard the scooter when the rider reaches his or her destination (the most popular brands are Bird, Lime and Lyft).  Injuries from these scooters are fairly common, with even some fatal accidents occurring.  If you are an employer, let’s be sure you know they are thing and that you are prepared to deal with if and how your employees use them.

Consider creating a handbook policy addressing e-scooters or updating an existing policy that may already regulate an employee’s use of company vehicles or driving for work purposes.  If you know that e-scooter use will happen, or if you even may encourage it, you will want to consider providing or mandating training and proper use of safety equipment.  You will likely want to supply and/or mandate helmets at all times.

Your policy will also want to address wearing all proper safety equipment, complying with traffic signals, heeding signs that prohibit such riding in certain areas, among other things.  In New York, for example, an employer was held liable for fines its workers incurred when they were using e-scooters during work for deliveries.  It is highly likely that a well-drafted policy explaining that an employee will be responsible for any citations received while using an e-scooter, just as when driving a vehicle for work purposes, will be the employee’s responsibility, could prevent such a result.

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