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California bill no longer holds escooter operators liable for user accidents

Escooter operators can now use waivers so that users have to accept some liability

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While Californian regulators have been taking aim at the likes of Uber and Lyft over how they classify their drivers, the state has also been addressing legislation that governs shared mobility devices like escooters and ebikes — and it’s thrown operators a lifeline.

Bill AB1286, a piece of legislation that defines who is responsible when a shared mobility device is involved in a crash, has been amended so that it no longer includes wording that would have forced guilt on escooter operators, The Verge reports.

The original wording of the bill meant that shared mobility companies like Bird and Lime couldn’t use liability waivers, which place a certain amount of responsibility on the device user in the case of crashes and misuse. The companies had previously said the bill, if enacted, would have made it impossible for them to operate.

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With no waivers in place, the escooter companies could in theory be held responsible for a host of injuries and accidents, even those that aren’t directly related to their devices and are caused by reckless driving, escooter misuse, or poor road infrastructure.

Indeed, if escooter operators had to pay out for every single incident that involves one of their devices, even when they’re not directly responsible, it could get very expensive.

According to The Verge’s report, insurance providers that service the shared mobility industry rely on providers being able to issue waivers. Without them, escooter providers can’t get insurance and can’t provide their product. Though, thanks to the amended bill, that’s not going to be the case.

You can read the fully amended bill here.

[Read: 4 ridiculously easy ways you can be more eco-friendly]

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Published August 27, 2020 — 08:19 UTC