New modes of transportation like e-scooters have made it easier to travel. You can have fun traveling around with e-scooters. You can go shopping. You can explore your city. Electric scooters are also environmentally friendly. They reduce a lot of carbon emissions.
Before deciding to use these transport modes, you might have questions. Is it legal to use them on roads? Can you ride an electric scooter on the sidewalks? Can you use it on the streets?
You need to know about these questions before using this mode of transport.
You can use an e-scooter wherever you can ride a bike. There are a few rules. It depends on the place you live and where you are riding.
Most of the time, driving an e-scooter is legal in your state. City-wise, it may be restricted.
Sometimes it’s legal in your city. It is limited to use on university campuses. Different cities also have additional requirements. Wearing a helmet and other protective equipment is compulsory.
What is an e-scooter?
E-scooters are 2-wheeled scooters with small electric motors. The demand for e-scooters has grown in years. It has rechargeable batteries. It is usually environmentally friendly. The overall cost to maintain e-scooters is easy.
Factors That Make Electric Scooters Street Legal
E-scooters have always been fun to ride. E-scooters are the easiest way to get around. It has become appealing for young adults to live independently.
E-scooters are not categorized as a motor vehicle. You can ride it without a license. Certain countries have strict rules on e-scooter. According to federal law, an e-scooter is classified as street legal if:
- It has fully operable pedals.
- The top speed of the motor is less than 20 miles per hour.
- The electric motor produces less than 750W.
It does not require a license and registration if it falls under this category. This applies in most states.
They have to be equipped with the right tires and suspension system. Specific safety measures are also followed. Like a rearview mirror, lights, turn signals, and horns are preferred.
Is an electric scooter classified as a motor vehicle?
An electric scooter to be classified as a motor vehicle depends on two things. They are power and speed. Like in Victoria, an e-scooter is classified as a motor vehicle if it exceeds 10 km per hour. Or it has 200 watts of power. So it will require a license in this case. So before buying an e-scooter, it’s essential to check the laws in the state. Otherwise, you may be fined for not following the law.
Electric Scooter Laws For Different Countries
In the US, the federal law states that an electric scooter is classified as street legal if the top speed is less than 20 miles per hour. The motor power should be below 750W. If your e-scooter falls in this range, it will not require any license or registration. This applies to most US states. You cannot ride e-scooters on pavements, cycle paths, or public roads in the US.
The e-scooters are allowed after meeting legal requirements. E-scooters in the US are allowed on roads that lack bicycle lanes.
But it should not exceed a speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The scooter is ridden close to the curb.
The government considers the safety of everyone. This includes the rider. The government has made rules for everyone’s benefit.
The city accepts personal light electric vehicles(PLEV) on cycle lanes, pavements, and California roads. The rider must have a driving license, wear a helmet, and be above 16 years of age.
In Illinois, e-scooters are allowed only with a permit. A driver’s license or state identification card is required. The ride must be above 16 years of age. They can ride on bicycle lanes only.
In Canada, e-scooters and bikes are legal. The laws governing the usage and ownership of e-scooters, e-bikes, or electric scooters are similar to traditional bicycles. They generally do not require a license or insurance to operate in Canada.
E-scooters and bicycles fall under Canadian federal law. However, each province can make minor changes like age requirements or where the rider can use them.
The United Kingdom
In the UK, an e-scooter is classified as a personal light electric vehicle. They come under the motor vehicles law. In the UK, riding an e-scooter is legal as long as you meet specific requirements. Your age is above 14. To ride an e-scooter in the UK, you must category Q entitlement on your driving license. UK license for categories AM, A, or B entitlement includes category Q. So if you have one of these licenses, you can use an e-scooter.
The European Union
In a couple of years, the use of e-scooters has expanded in many cities in Europe. The increased use of e-scooters in cities brings opportunities for sustainable growth. The increased popularity of e-scooters has highlighted the lack of regulatory frameworks.
In Germany, a license for e-scooters for use on public roads is permitted if:
- The maximum speed limit cannot exceed 20 miles per hour.
- The front lights and side reflectors are fitted.
- Brakes fitted independently are fitted.
- Bell that can be used to warn other users is included.
In Italy, to use e-scooters, the law sets a minimum of age 14. It is mandatory to wear helmets that are under 18. You can ride E-scooters at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. It is allowed on a pathway where bicycles are permitted. You can ride in pedestrian areas at a rate of 6 miles per hour.
However, as the number of e-scooters on Maltese roads has increased, new rules have been introduced. The new rules require the rider to be 18 years and have a driving license and insurance.
What type of license is required to ride an e-scooter?
In Australia, most states require the rider to have a license. But the type of permit needed differs.
South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia require a person to have a driver’s license to ride an e-scooter.
New south wales, Tasmania and Victoria require the rider to have a motorcycle license. Passing a motorcycle test is also necessary before stepping out on the road with an e-scooter.
Wearing a helmet is necessary for the rider’s safety. Driving while using a mobile phone or under the influence of alcohol is illegal. The same applies to e-scooter riders as well. It’s essential to check with the local laws. It differs from state to state. Most of the university campuses also have their own rules about riding e-scooters.
Electric Scooter Safety
- When you ride an e-scooter for the first time, know how it operates by slowly increasing the speed. Many people are surprised by how fast scooters can move. To have a comfortable ride, start with a low rate before riding out in a busy area.
- Try riding on smooth surfaces for a comfortable ride. Most e-scooters are not suitable to ride on rough surfaces.
- It is necessary to know the traffic rules and laws for the area you are riding an e-scooter. Knowing the speed limit is essential. Crossing the speed limit may be prohibited in certain regions.
- E-scooters are generally prohibited from riding on sidewalks. You should always wear a helmet as a safety measure.
Where are electric scooters legal to ride?
The UK has been slow to adopt the use of e-scooter as a mode of transport. At the same time, other European countries have adopted a modern approach to things.
In France, the Personal Light Electric Vehicle has a limit of 25km per hour in the bicycle lane. In Austria and Switzerland, e-scooters are allowed to be used on roads. In France and Germany, PLEV can go up to 6km per hour on the pavements.
The US state of California is accepting the e-scooters in cycle lanes and on roads. The rider must be above 16 years and wear a helmet.
How do you know if the electric scooter complies with the law?
The specifications of an e-scooter are there in the handbook when you buy an e-scooter. You can visit the company’s website or contact the company directly.
Some electric scooter companies adjust the power and speed to comply with the local laws in your area.
Electric scooters are fun to use and move around the city. They are eco-friendly and easy to use.
But before getting an e-scooter, consider the rules and regulations regarding their usage to know if it’s legal to ride.
The laws and regulations of e-scooters are evolving. And as more people are starting to adapt to this mode, countries and jurisdictions will enact more strict rules and regulations. A license is required to ride e-scooters in the UK. Rides have to wear helmets as well. In the US, e-scooters are allowed on pathways and streets.
The rules differ for different states and even city wise. Always try using bike lanes and obey the traffic laws of your area.