Electric scooters are growing in popularity as a means of transportation for people who only need to go short distances. Scooter share programs such as Lime Bike and Bird Rides make it possible to take advantage of using a scooter as transportation without even purchasing your own scooter.
While electric scooters are convenient and an environmentally friendly method of transportation, it’s important to be familiar with electric scooter laws in California before you decide to ride one. It’s also important to consider the risk of injury when using this way of getting around.
Overview of California Electric Scooter Laws
An electric scooter has two wheels, handlebars, a floorboard to stand on, and a motor. It also has a kickstand to use when parked. Registration or license plates don’t have to be displayed on this type of vehicle, and insurance isn’t required, although users of these vehicles may want to speak to an insurance agent about whether it’s possible to purchase coverage.
In order to operate an electric scooter in California, you have to be at least 16 years old and have a driver’s license or learner’s permit. A scooter shouldn’t be operated on a sidewalk but can be used on a bike path.
On roads, if there is no bike lane, scooters can be operated on roads where the speed limit is 25 miles an hour or less. Safety regulations are in the process of loosening to allow scooters on roads with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. Riders are required to ride as close to the right-hand side of the road as possible, except when making a left turn.
Safety When Riding a Scooter
It’s a good idea to wear a DOT-approved helmet whenever you use a scooter as transportation. Until recently, wearing a helmet was legally required, but the law is in the process of changing to only require helmets for riders under the age of 18.
At least one hand should be on the handlebars at all times. Anyone who rides an electric scooter shouldn’t allow any passengers on the scooter with them.
Electric Scooter Accidents
Although laws regulating scooters are becoming less strict, accidents on electric scooters can and do happen. Anyone who rides a scooter needs to always be alert to the possibility of road hazards such as potholes, fallen branches, rocks or puddles. Accidents can also happen that only involve the scooter rider, such as running into a tree or hitting an obstacle.
If a scooter rider isn’t paying attention, he or she may run into a pedestrian or a moving vehicle. It’s possible to be injured while riding an electric scooter by being hit by another motorized vehicle, which could be a car, truck, or another scooter, or injury may occur if a car door unexpectedly opens when the rider is passing a parked vehicle.
Injuries Sustained in a Scooter Accident
If you were hit by a scooter rider while walking, it may be difficult to obtain compensation since scooter riders are not required to carry insurance. If you were riding a scooter and were hit by a motor vehicle driver who was negligent, you may be able to obtain compensation if it can be proven that the driver was negligent.
Get in touch with Kuvara Law Firm for a free consultation by filling out the form on this page. By speaking to an expert in the field of personal injury law, you can learn about your rights and find out if you have a case.