Currently, Bird and Lime do not offer insurance coverage for their customers. Any chance of recovery for riders will have to come from personal automobile coverage. Even then, it’s uncertain whether a standard auto policy will provide coverage for injuries suffered riding a motorized scooter. Some automobile policies go as far as to specifically exclude coverage for “motorized bicycles.” It’s unclear if this and similar provisions would extend to Bird and Lime scooters.
Consider the following example: Bill is riding a Bird scooter and is struck by another vehicle, driven by Jane. Bill suffers serious injuries, and Jane was responsible. In this example, whose insurance applies?
Generally, assuming Jane has automobile insurance, her insurance would apply to cover Bill’s injuries. If Jane does not have insurance, or her insurance coverage limits are inadequate to cover Bill’s injuries, you would look to see if Bill’s own insurance provided uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Even then, however, it’s uncertain if coverage would be afforded because of the potential for motorized scooter and bicycle exclusions.
Let’s take this a step further and imagine what would happen if a rider strikes a pothole, resulting in injury. Or, perhaps the scooter had a mechanical issue, like defective brakes. In addition to any defenses raised by operation of the rental agreement, these are likely scenarios where personal auto insurance would not provide coverage. Until Bird or Lime are forced to provide liability insurance coverage, riders need to be aware of these potential coverage issues.