Class-action lawsuit filed against Bird, Lime over 'aiding and abetting assault' to LA pedestrians

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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Two people are part of a class-action lawsuit filed against scooter companies Bird and Lime over claims that the businesses are liable for injuries riders cause to pedestrians.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Street performer David Petersen said he was working on the pier four months ago when he was blind-sided by a rider on a Bird scooter.

"It's not safe. You have to watch your back," he said. "I flew and I caught myself. My right arm was broken and my right bicep was severed from my lower arm. A 7-inch scar on my arm," he said.

Tina Ogata said she was carrying groceries and holding her dog on a leash when she came up on some scooters lying in the middle of the sidewalk.

"I tripped over them. I broke my wrist, my left wrist, all the way through and I broke my ring finger," she said.

Both are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last week against two of the largest scooter companies - Lime and Bird. The suit accuses the companies of gross negligence and "aiding and abetting assault."

"We filed the suit on behalf of all Californians who have suffered and are continuing to suffer injuries on our streets, on our sidewalks and bike paths and in our public places," lawyer Jeffrey Lee Costell said.

According to the plaintiffs' lawyers, Lime and Bird are liable because the companies knew their scooter riders were injuring pedestrians and failed to take steps to prevent the collisions.

"These defendants have dumped thousands of scooters onto California streets within a very short period of time and without any significant, or reasonable, or appropriate warning," Costell said.

The lawsuit seeks damages and demands that the scooter companies provide more protections for riders and pedestrians.

"I was on the sidewalk and that should be safe for me to walk. I mean it could have been like an 80-year-old lady. I'm only 50 and I still tripped over it," Ogata said.

Peterson argued that the scooters should be regulated.

"They should be registered and licensed with the Department of Motor Vehicles so if you get hit by one, you can identify who it was. They should have to show insurance," he said.

On Monday, Bird issued a statement regarding the suit.

"Class action attorneys with a real interest in improving transportation safety should be focused on reducing the 40,000 deaths caused by cars every year in the U.S. At Bird, safety is our very top priority," it said.

A representative with Lime said the company could not comment on pending litigation, but that safety was also its top priority.