As rental scooters across the country become the new hot thing, interpreting the legal contracts riders unknowingly "sign" when they hop on one has become an interesting phenomenon that will become a litigation battleground in the upcoming years (like Uber, but worse). My column for the next year will explore everything people need to know about the legal complexities of riding--and possibly falling off of--a rental scooter in 2020.
For better or worse, Tucson has allowed Bird and Razor to enter our community on a pilot program. I have read both contracts that riders blindly agree to when they decide rent a scooter. Both scooter companies require that legal disputes be resolved by arbitration in California. Both do not allow class action lawsuits. However, hidden in Bird's novella of a contract is one interesting option:
9.6 Right to Opt Out. You have the right to opt-out and not be bound by the arbitration and class action waiver provisions set forth above by sending written notice of your decision to opt-out to the following address: Bird Rides, Inc., 406 Broadway, #369, Santa Monica, California 90401. The notice must be sent within 30 days of the effective date or your first use of the Service, whichever is later, otherwise you shall be bound to arbitrate disputes in accordance with the terms of those paragraphs. If you opt-out of these arbitration provisions, Bird also will not be bound by them.
Though there are pros and cons to resolving a claim through arbitration, many companies often mandate arbitration because they set the rules up in their favor. Before using either of these services, you should send a letter and/or email to both Razor and Bird that you not are not only opting out of their mandatory arbitration/class action clauses, but that you reserve the right to choose whether arbitration or court is the best choice for you depending on the circumstances. You should do this before you use either service:
Bird Rides, Inc.
406 Broadway, #369
Santa Monica, California 90401
12723 166th Street, Cerritos
California 90703 (Attn: Legal Department)