Motorized scooters are everywhere. They are fun, cost-effective and easy to park. Young people use motor scooters for everything from getting to work and school to hanging out with their friends. These scooters have opened the world of micro-mobility to thousands of people, you and old. They also create safety concerns.
Motor scooters come in different styles and speeds. All of them use a design that allows the rider to stand on the scooter and hold onto handlebars in front of them. The scooter is powered by an electric motor. These electric scooters have become popular with the advent of companies such as Lime and Bird scooters.
The California Vehicle Code defines an electric scooter as: a device that has two wheels, handlebars, a floorboard to stand on, and which is powered by an electric motor. Some of these scooters have seats, but the seat must not get in the way of standing on the floorboard.
Types of Scooters and Restrictions
There are different kinds of electric scooters available on the market. Not all kinds are street legal in California.
In order to be street legal in California, an electric scooter may not go faster than 15 MPH.
They are prohibited on sidewalks but may be operated on a street, bike path or trail unless prohibited.
In California, to ride an electric scooter on a street, you must have a class C license. A helmet is also required. If the posted speed in a roadway is more than 25 mph, an electric scooter must only be ridden in an adjacent class II bike path. It is against the law to ride under the influence of alcohol or any other type of intoxicant.
Electric scooters are as safe as the people who use them. Riders need to know the law and need to familiarize themselves with how their scooters work before taking on the road. Riders need to be vigilant and try to ensure that they see and can adjust to traffic and roadway conditions. Finally, riders need to maintain their scooters to avoid malfunction.
Types of Accidents Involving Motor Scooters
It is typical to see these scooters darting in and out of traffic, on sidewalks, and on bike paths. Because there is no protection around the rider, a scooter or motorcycle accident of any kind may have serious physical consequences. Injuries can occur to the rider, pedestrian, car or truck driver or passenger, cyclist, or to property.
Some of the leading causes of traffic accidents involving motor scooters include:
Obstacles are unexpected. These can include potholes, garbage cans, pedestrians, animals. Just about anything that appears suddenly enough to create a hazard can prove dangerous. A rider may run into the obstacle, may lose control when attempting to avoid it, or may hit another person or thing in an attempt to avoid the first obstacle.
Because riders tend to dart in and out of vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, collisions may occur with anyone of these other vehicles. These scooters are often difficult to see and drivers of cars and trucks may not be attuned to their presence on the roadway. A car or truck may suddenly pull out into traffic without checking enough to spot the scooter.
Scooter malfunctions occur. Brakes fail, wheels break, engines run into problems. Any part of the scooter may experience failure, often sending the rider over the handlebars to the street.
In fact, scooter malfunctions and defects have been the basis for many lawsuits across the country – and right here in California.
Companies that manufacture and market these vehicles have a duty to make sure they’re safe. When a motor scooter malfunctions because of a defect, the company can be held financially accountable for the resulting consequences – including a rider’s injuries and suffering.
No matter why a scooter accident takes place, it’s really important to discuss your options with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law.
What to Do if Involved in a Scooter Accident
Accidents happen. As in any accident, a rider should stop and make sure that everyone is uninjured and exchange information. If the rider is the injured person, it is important to get a medical examination and treatment as soon as is practicable. Likewise, it is best to document the scene of the accident. This can include taking photos or videos of the positions of the vehicles and any skid marks on the road. Write details down as soon as you are able.
Scooter injuries can be serious. If it is necessary to consult with an experienced attorney. Insurance companies may contact an injured rider and try to settle a claim quickly. This may not be in the rider’s best interest. It is always better to get expert help when you need it.
Motorized vehicles are fun and exciting. Remember to observe all laws and remain vigilant if you are a rider. If you become injured, get help. You don’t have to face your injuries alone.