An Atlanta woman claims faulty brakes on an Uber scooter she was riding caused her to be thrown from the device and suffer serious injuries.  (Photo by Phil Skinner)
Photo: Phil Skinner
Photo: Phil Skinner

Atlanta woman sues Uber, says faulty e-scooter brakes led to injuries

An Atlanta woman claims faulty brakes on an Uber scooter she was riding caused her to be thrown from the device and suffer serious injuries.

In a lawsuit filed last week in Fulton County Superior Court, Zella Turner’s legal team says the “dangerous” brakes made the device unstable, causing their client’s crash in January. Turner, a mother of five, suffered head injuries in the accident at the intersection of Peachtree Street and John Portman. Turner required 15 stitches to her head and underwent reconstructive facial surgery.

“She’s still dealing with neurological issues and is being evaluated for that,” said Alan Holcomb, one of her attorneys.

Ninebot and Segway were also named in the lawsuit as they design Uber’s electric scooters and bikes.

Uber declined to comment on pending litigation.

Zella Turner sustained broken bones and a laceration to her face as well as a broken finger when she said the brakes on a scooter failed on Jan. 24.
Photo: Special to The AJC

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Uber Jump scooters first landed in Atlanta a year ago with its electric bikes arriving on Jan. 7 — just as the city approved new scooter regulations. Turner began using the scooters in January to commute to work, saying the devices saved her from a 40-minute walk.

Uber removed the scooter from the fleet after Turner reported the incident, the AJC reported.

The lawsuit also alleges Uber failed to warn riders about their scooters’ dangers, resulting in other injuries.

Electric scooter companies have also had issues with brakes on their e-bikes. Those issues were reported as early as April when, Lyft recalled 15 percent of its bike fleet to replace faulty brakes that caused riders’ injuries, according to The Washington Post.

Uber confirmed they had similar brake issues with their bikes, but fixed the problem in 2018 without disclosing to customers that such a problem existed. In both cases, the front wheels froze when pressure was applied to the brake.

“It’s a pretty widespread problem,” Holcomb said, “I don’t think it’s specific to the scooter [Turner] was on.”

After four scooter-related deaths in metro Atlanta earlier this year, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a nighttime ban on the electric devices.

The city is working to revamp its existing scooter legislation.


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