Electric Scooters are an upgraded version of the traditional push-along scooters. These scooters are equipped with an integrated high-power motor and battery, just like an e-bike. The motor and battery together help to move the scooter without putting in a manual effort.
Electric scooters have been there for quite some time now. Recent years saw a surge in electric scooter sales as people began adapting to green transportation. Reports suggest that they are growing at a healthy 7.7% rate.
But electric scooters are still not considered very safe. A consumer report survey shows that nearly 80% of Americans believe there should be laws to regulate where you can drive these scooters. Nearly 70% want helmet usage laws, parking laws, age limits, and even night driving rules and regulations put in place.
Without a doubt, electric scooters make a lot of sense for today’s fast-paced youth who don’t want to be stuck in traffic. But they can be very unstable and vulnerable on the roads. This makes the rider prone to severe accidents.
Riding Electric Scooter Safely
You should always ride a scooter with proper protective gear such as helmets and elbow pads. In a recent JAMA Surgery study, the number of accidents due to e scooters increased more than three times between 2014 and 2018.
The age-adjusted rate of accidents per 100,000 people stands at 19 today, and nearly 32% of all injuries due to these e-scooters are head injuries. The age group between 18 to 34 years was most prone to injuries from such accidents.
Know Your Local Laws
Looking at this trend, many cities have drafted rules to regulate their use. Some places have banned the usage of electric scooters entirely.
A few have laid down strict guidelines that suggest that riders can only ride such scooters in the bike lanes and not on the sidewalks.
In some cities, electric scooters are still treated like e-bikes.
Whatever maybe be the local traffic laws and guidelines, one must be aware of them and follow them for everyone’s safety.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter On The Sidewalk In DC?
Washington, DC strictly prohibits riding an electric scooter on the sidewalk if a bike lane is available. However, one can ride the scooter on any sidewalk, overseen by the National Park Service.
All these rules and regulations may seem messed up and haphazard. Thus one should always check the website of the Department of Motor Vehicles of their respective state. Also, one should look at the guidelines laid down by local municipalities to avoid any confusion in the future.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter On The Sidewalk In California?
The laws of California are very strict in matters of traffic management. According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC), it is illegal to ride an electric scooter on a sidewalk. Also, there can be serious consequences if one leaves his/her e-scooter unattended or parks it on a sidewalk. These rules are made keeping in mind the pedestrian traffic’s convenience.
However, CVC allows users to ride their e-scooters on bike lanes, bikeways, and trails. If the e-scooter satisfies the speed limit of 25 miles per hour, it can be legally ridden on the streets as well.
One can also only ride an e-scooter on the highway if the scooter’s handlebars force the riders to put their hands higher than their shoulders.
There is only one exception wherein users can ride electric scooters on sidewalks if they leave or enter the adjacent property.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter On The Sidewalk In Indiana?
Indianapolis doesn’t permit riders to ride their electric scooters on the sidewalk, cultural trail, or any other greenway. Riding an electric scooter in bike lanes is also banned in Indiana. One can ride his/her e-scooter on the street by following all the traffic regulations meant for the general public.
Also, it is prohibited to ride electric scooters in the oncoming lanes. While parking, one must ensure to leave four feet of clearance on the sidewalk.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter On The Sidewalk In Florida?
The state of Florida has different laws for motor scooters and motorized scooters. The motor scooters consist of a seat or saddle, but a motorized one doesn’t. Also, a motorized scooter has a lower speed limit of around 20 to 25 miles per hour.
Thus, motorized scooters are not street legal in Florida. People can’t ride them on the roads or sidewalks either.
Some cities and counties are permitted to have their own rules regarding sidewalks and streets.
Motorized scooters are not required to be registered. If the rider is 16 years and up, he/she can ride it without a helmet with any driver’s license.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter On The Sidewalk In Los Angeles?
A recent news article of LA suggests, as the number of electric scooter users increased, the number of tickets issued against them also increased.
LA works on the simple rule, “Riding scooters on sidewalks will be ticketed.” The only reason behind this is the disturbance that will be caused to the pedestrian traffic. The rider will also face many problems while riding electric scooters on narrow and crowded sidewalks of the city. A scooter critic of LA, Koretz, says, “Riding on the sidewalks is the most dangerous violation for a scooter rider.”
Similarly, LA’s traffic officials believe that electric scooters are plagued with safety issues; if riding on the sidewalk, they may knock over the pedestrians.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter On The Sidewalk In Michigan?
Michigan looks at these electric scooters differently. It allows users to ride electric scooters on streets and highways within specified speed limits. However, riders are not allowed to pass other vehicles in traffic lanes. If the scooter is not equipped with a headlight, riding them is prohibited one-half hour before sunrise and after sunset.
Riders under the age of 12 should not ride scooters on roadways, streets, or highways.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter on The Sidewalk In NYC?
It is legal to own an electric scooter in NYC. Also, the cities and different municipalities can decide rules and regulations for the operation of motorized vehicles.
New York law permits the usage of electric scooters on some streets and highways, which have a speed limit of fewer than 30 miles per hour. However, one can not ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk unless authorized by local law.
Also, there is no need to register motorized vehicles in NYC.
Can You Ride An Electric Scooter on The Sidewalk of Colorado?
Colorado has a diverse landscape, a melange of arid deserts, snow-covered mountains, and river canyons. Thus, there is no option but to ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk.
Colorado’s state law treats electric scooters as toy devices; thus, they can’t be legally ridden in the bike lanes or the roadways.
Are Electric Scooters Illegal?
It depends on the city or state you reside in. Most countries treat privately-owned e-scooters as illegal. Undoubtedly, electric scooters have many benefits, but they have social implications. Thus, one must always check one’s country’s federal law or guidelines laid down by local municipalities that apply to the electric scooter.
Can I ride an electric scooter without a license?
Electric scooters are nothing but motorized vehicles. Most countries don’t recognize them as a legal means of transport. Thus they don’t have to be registered. Subsequently, the majority of cities and states don’t require a license from the riders. Also, there is no need for insurance when it comes to owning an electric scooter.
Are Electric Scooters Safe?
Electric scooters have many social implications, including traffic disturbance, sidewalk congestion, and accidents. These lightweight motorized vehicles are less stable as compared to other electric vehicles. The rider can easily fall, collide, and have head injuries and bone fractures.
What Might Make Electric Scooters Safe?
The laws concerning electric scooters have not been standardized, which has resulted in people being unsure about the traffic rules. E-scooters have gained a lot of popularity and are easily owned by many due to their cost-effective nature.
Kids, teenagers, and even inexperienced adults should be given some supervised training to ensure they know the basic norms which have to be followed while riding an e-scooter. Uniform rules and regulations should be made, keeping in mind the pedestrian traffic or vehicular road traffic and the rider’s convenience.
Electric scooters are considered a cleaner and greener mode of transportation due to their motorized nature. But many countries don’t recognize these scooters as legal vehicles as their unstable and vulnerable nature can cause a pedestrian disturbance, traffic congestion, and accidents.,
Some steps should be taken to make them safer. Giving proper training and standardizing the laws will make e-scooters occupy another niche in our transportation ecosystem.