Florida Cities Mandating Scooter Liability
What better way to get around while enjoying the fresh summer air than a scooter. Florida’s resort cities are filled with scooter rental companies that offer these fun and economical rides on an hourly basis. According to a recent report in The News Herald, several Florida cities are instituting measures to mandate scooter liability insurance, but these new laws are proving controversial. The affected rental companies are asserting that their businesses will face substantial harm by this new financial burden.
Panama City Beach is the latest locality to explore these insurance laws. The ordinance has reportedly passed the first of two legislative votes. If passed, the law will require all scooter rental companies to carry liability insurance at a level comparable to automobile owners. According to the article, the insurance will cover any damages or injuries caused by scooter operators. Under the ordinance, the minimum insurance levels would be $10,000 per person for a crash; $20,000 of coverage for all scooter drivers and passengers; and $10,000 coverage for damage to property.
Bay County already mandates insurance in the amount of $1 million for general liability and $500,000 in bodily injuries. The News Herald reports that the county is currently facing a lawsuit, initiated by one of the local scooter rental companies. The basis for the suit reportedly stems from the fact that the state does not require the liability insurance. The scooter company is asserting that Bay County’s ordinance is preempted by the state, negating their ability to enforce the new law.
The Difficulty for Scooter Companies
According to the article, many of the scooter rental companies are not able to meet the insurance requirements, having already been denied coverage. One company stated it must “decline the risk” due to a “high loss risk”’ and “high number of accidents.” The article quotes another insurance company that estimates a yearly cost of $100,000 for the scooter companies. Company owners in the article assert that these costs will cause an undue burden, possibly even resulting in the closure of their businesses.
Aside from the cost, the other major problem with the insurance requirement is an age limitation that insurance companies want to implement for scooter renters. The few companies that will provide insurance will only give coverage for renters over the age of 21 years old. Rental company owners reportedly argue that a large percentage of their customers are between the ages of 18 to 21, especially when the college spring breakers are in town. One owner stated that 81% of his customers are under 21 years old, according to the article.
Why Does It Matter
The purpose of liability insurance is to protect the riders and passengers of scooters, as well as members of the general public who may be negatively impacted by a scooter driver. When injured by a scooter driver, the party should be able to gain compensation for the physical and financial challenges that ensue.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rental scooter, contact the legal team at Pita & Del Prado in Miami for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.