These days, electric scooters (or eScooters) are everywhere – and we mean literally everywhere. Rental companies deposit scooters on street corners, at bike racks on college campuses and everywhere in between, and riders use streets, bike lanes, pedestrian lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks and access ramps to get where they need to go.
The sudden popularity of electric scooters has left many jurisdictions struggling to keep pace. The laws that apply to motor vehicles, mopeds, bicycles and pedestrians are often not well-suited for electric scooters, and rental companies often drop off eScooters in new cities with little or no forewarning. As a result, not only are riders often unsure of their legal responsibilities, but legislators and law enforcement officers may be unsure of riders’ legal responsibilities as well.
Which Traffic Laws Apply to eScooters? It’s Not Always Easy to Tell
That said, as electric scooters continue to appear on city streets around the country, state and local authorities are focusing their attention on trying to protect the safety of riders, pedestrians and drivers. Currently, the types of traffic laws that apply to electric scooters include:
- Speed Limits – Many jurisdictions have speed limits that prohibit riding an electric scooter above 15 miles per hour (or slower in certain areas).
- Helmets – Some motor vehicle and bicycle helmet laws apply to eScooters, although some jurisdictions are taking legislative action to eliminate the helmet requirement for scooter riders.
- Sidewalks – In some cities, riding an electric scooter on the sidewalk is permitted; in others, it is not.
- Bicycle Lanes – Similarly, riding an eScooter in a designated bicycle lane is permitted in some jurisdictions and prohibited in others.
- Traffic Signs and Signals – In areas where eScooters are treated similarly to bicycles or motor vehicles, riders must generally observe all rules of the road.
To find out what laws apply where you live, you will need to do some research. You should also check back frequently, as the traffic laws that apply to eScooters are changing rapidly. In some states, different rules apply in different cities, and restrictions may even vary from one area of the city to the next. For example, as reported by the Washingtonian, in Washington D.C.:
“While bike lanes are a go . . . scooterists are [not] allowed to ride on sidewalks in the city’s central business district, which, roughly speaking, includes much of the area between Union Station and George Washington University and from the Mall to Massachusetts Avenue. (You are, however, allowed to ride on sidewalks wherever the National Park Service has oversight, such as Dupont Circle.)”
Regardless of the legal restrictions that apply (or do not apply) where you ride, staying safe should always be your top priority. Electric scooter accidents can result in severe injuries, and injured riders can face a long and difficult road to recovery.
Speak with an eScooter Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in an eScooter accident and would like to know more about how local traffic laws may impact your claim for financial compensation, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please call 954-764-4849 or inquire online today.