Electric Scooter Laws, Are they Legal, Can You Ride Them On The Sidewalk
Electric scooters are fun and mobile rides. They are pretty inexpensive and perfect for day to day life.
E-scooters are gaining popularity nowadays. People are starting to realize the advantages of these advanced vehicles in their life.
But as it’s a vehicle, it comes with risks. Thus, there are laws on riding an electric scooter. So, the question that comes up “Are electric scooters legal on sidewalks?” Laws on electric scooters might vary from state to state. It’s crucial to know about these and follow the laws accordingly.
To help you understand better, let’s go over electric scooter laws so that you can ride your e-scooter safely.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalk
There is no straightforward answer to that. The state you are in dictates that completely.
E-scooters were not easily seen back in the day as they are seen now. Electric scooters have been around for more than 24 years now. But these days, the number of people riding those have just flooded, especially in America.
For more convenience, the manufacturers are producing more and more innovative designs that attract the customers. Thus, the number of people using e-scooter will just keep growing.
As it had a sudden rise, many people are confused about whether they can ride their electric scooters on the sidewalk or not. Or is it optimal to ride it in the bike lanes or the general traffic?
Well, as mentioned earlier, it depends on the state you choose to drive it in. You should familiarize yourself first with the laws of the city you are in.
For instance, in California, you are not allowed to ride your electric scooter on the sidewalks. You have to either drive it on the bike lanes or the right-handed side of the road.
And again, those rules differ from state to state. Like, in Texas, you have permission to ride your e-scooter on traffic, bike lanes, or even the sidewalks.
Also, some of the cities put speed limits to avoid any kinds of accidents.
You must have a clear idea of the laws. Following them will save you from getting a penalty and ensuring overall safety as well.
The best way to do that would be to search the websites of the Department of Motor Vehicles of your state. That should have all the information you need on the laws for ridding your e-scooter. Cities like New York or San Francisco might have this information on their city website.
If you don’t feel like doing that, you can always go and ask local police.
Here is my another article about ‘ How much does an electric scooter cost ‘
A Few of the States Law on Electric Scooter
As you know by now, the laws for riding an electric scooter is different in every state. Let’s go over some of the state’s law on riding the e-scooter down below.
1. Electric Scooter Laws In Alabama
From cities with heavy traffic to cities with utter freedom, Alabama has it all. But unfortunately, electric scooters are not permitted and seen as a safe ride in most of the cities of Alabama
Electric scooters are considered unsafe in the city of Auburn. Thus, you are not allowed to ride your e-scooter on the roads. You can’t also ride electric scooters in the streets of Tuscaloosa.
But in Birmingham, the scooter is classified as a motor vehicle. Thus, it requires registration tags. Also, you must have a motorcycle license to operate the scooter on the roads of Birmingham.
These cities are not seeing the benefits of an e scooter. The e-scooter world has a few safety facts that have created some controversy. That makes it pretty complicated for the authorities to create a system and framework to change the laws of it.
They need to take notes from the experiences from the other states and see the track record of the scooter usage. Hopefully, that will be enough to convince them to make it legal in the streets. But for now, it’s not legal in most city’s streets in this state.
2. Electric Scooter Laws In Ohio
Ohio gives freedom to the e-scooter riders. You’ll not need a motor scooter license to drive an e-scooter there.
It’s completely legal to ride electric scooters on the streets and the bike lanes. Some cities might have regulations against riding on some specific ordinances. But other than that, Ohio offers the utmost freedom for electric scooter riders.
Even the e-scooter rider doesn’t have to wear helmets to operate the scooter. The helmet laws of the state don’t require it.
But you might have to maintain an identical amount of liability insurance as the motorcycle owners. But someone with a kick scooter or a motorized bicycle doesn’t require any kind of insurance.
All of it allows you to ride your electric scooter with the most freedom and without always having to think about breaking any laws.
3. Electric Scooter Laws In Washington State
In the state of Washington, the number of electric scooters is increasing day by day. You’ll see a lot of e-scooters on the road, on the highway shoulders, and in the alleys as well.
But you are not allowed to ride your electric scooter on sidewalks, bike lanes, or any other public walkways. Also, you don’t have permission to ride your e-scooter on roadways that has speed limits exceeding 35 mph.
Also, in Washington, you are not allowed to operate your electric scooters on playgrounds or schoolyards. You probably can guess it’s for safety reasons.
Any rider who suffers from disability might use the e-scooter as the primary way of transportation or increase mobility. For them, using the scooter on any sidewalks, bike lanes, public walkways, and so on are permitted except for the roads that exceed the speed limit of 35 mph.
4. Seattle Electric Scooter Laws
You’ll get so much freedom in Seattle to ride your e-scooter. You’ll be able to ride it on roadways, highway shoulders, and even in the alleys. But it’s prohibited to ride in the sidewalks, bike lanes, or any of the public walkways.
Also, it’s not permitted to ride the scooter inroads that exceed the speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Also, you can’t just ride your electric scooter on the playground or the schoolyards as well.
But the people who have a disability can ride their e-scooter on the places mentioned above. Of course, except for the roads that exceed the limit of 35 mph speed.
For the scooter riders, there are also guidelines that you must follow. First of all, you’ll have to have a good braking system in your e-scooter. That’s to be safe on the road. Also, to avoid excessive noise, the scooter must have a muffler or any kind of noise-suppressing device.
Your scooter has to have a light in the front that’s visible from far off. (At Least 500 feet) You have to use it 30 minutes before the sunset.
As you probably know, someone under 16 is not allowed to ride an electric scooter. If you are a rider, you must wear a helmet before hitting the road. If you follow these rules, you are good to go to Seattle to ride your electric scooter.
5. Electric Scooter Laws In California
California’s electric scooter law passed at the beginning of 2019. They are pretty straight forward.
If you are a rider, you are prohibited to increase your speed up to 15 miles per hour on any public roads or bike lanes. But you can ride the e-scooters with a speed of 25 miles per hour as some of the areas have permission to do so.
But it’s wise to stay in the 15 mph speed range if you don’t know the layout of which the restriction is more or less.
You should follow these rules whenever you choose to take your electric scooter out and go for a ride.
6. Electric Scooter Laws In NYC
The NYC state lawmakers have approved electric scooters in NYC. But its cities have the opportunities to regulate the vehicles and see if they will allow the electric scooters or not.
Most shared scooter companies are not permitted in some cities. For instance, Manhattan or other densely populated boroughs doesn’t allow the scooter companies to operate inside the city.
But as far as owning your e-scooter, it’s completely legal in New York. But that doesn’t mean that you can go out everywhere freely.
You still have to follow the traffic rules and basic safety rules. That is something you must not break at any cost.
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Electric Scooter laws
Those states are not the only ones that have laws for an electric scooter. As a fast-growing popularity vehicle, electric scooters are being vastly used in many countries and states. Thus, having a general idea of the fundamental laws will help you ride it safely, no matter where you are.
1. Electric Scooter Age Limit
You probably know that e-scooters have some risk of injury as it’s a motorized vehicle. It’s easy for a young kid to get injured while riding the electric scooter. Even for adults, accidents can take place in just a matter of seconds.
That’s why most states set the age limit to prevent injuries. In most cases, the age limit is set to 16 years. But as a responsible person, you must not allow kids under 12 years to ride a motorized vehicle like the electric scooter at any cost.
As small as the vehicle might be, if a kid rides it inroads, there is a high risk of accidents. So, you should be aware of the age limit when it comes to electric scooters.
2. Electric Scooter Helmet Law
Helmets are the pre-requirements for most motorized vehicles. Even for a simple bicycle, you should wear a helmet to ensure the maximum security possible.
But an electric scooter typically moves a lot faster than a bicycle. The overall speed of an e-scooter can be twice as much of a bicycle. As you increase the speed, you are increasing the risk also.
That’s why you should always wear a helmet before you hit the road with your electric scooter. That will save you from the basic injuries. But it also can be something that saves your life afterward.
In most countries, wearing a helmet is a must when it comes to bikes or electric scooters. Breaking the law might cost you a fine.
You should wear protective gear while riding your e-scooter, especially the helmet.
3. Speed Limit Zones
You have probably seen some speed limit zones already. These are special zones that you must lower the speed at. Breaking the speed limit will probably cause you a penalty that you want to avoid.
Speed limit zones usually marked by a sign. But you must abide by the following rules as well.
When you see the pedestrian traffic, you must slow down your electric scooter. It’s recommended to go with a 5 mph speed as it will ensure maximum safety.
Public places, playgrounds are usually prohibited from riding your e-scooter. But if it’s allowed, you must ride it at a considerable speed limit.
Also, you must be cautious with the speed in the sidewalks, public walkways, or the bike lanes. Those are areas that might cause accidents. Thus, it’s better to limit your speed to a lower range to avoid any unwanted troubles.
Try to avoid speeding in general also. It’s not safe to go to higher speed with your electric scooters. You should not try to overtake other vehicles as you ride your e-scooter.
You just need to remember, the safety of your ride comes first. Compromising your safety is never an option.
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4. Giving Signals
Whether you choose to ride your scooter on the road or anywhere else, you must be able to communicate with other riders near you. Without this kind of communication, accidents are most likely to take place.
You can use your hand or some electric devices to do this kind of communication on the road. For the devices, you’ll find hundreds of turn signals in the market that are under 15 bucks. Those are also very easy to install, as well.
If you choose to install one, you’ll be able to signal any turns or stops with the device. The indicator light will show others that you are turning or making a stop.
But if you choose to use your hands to communicate, you must know the following gestures.
To signal a right turn, you need to extend the right arm out. Make sure to keep it perpendicular to your body. That’ll tell the other drivers that you are taking a right-hand turn.
If you want to make a left-hand turn, raise your left arm just like previously shown. It’s as simple as that.
Finally, if you want to stop completely, extend the left arm out. But this time, you need to bend your arm down at the elbow.
Those are the basic communication gestures that you need to know in the streets.
5. Additional Things to Consider
Laws and regulations are not simple for electric scooters. It is like that because it is still a new concept for most countries. Thus, the laws and rules are still developing.
But you should always follow the basic local traffic rules. It’s a necessity to keep you safe on the road. Not to mention, it will also save you from getting a penalty.
A penalty in most cases can be from 100 dollars to 200 dollars. So, you should never break the traffic rules to avoid getting the penalty.
Besides that, having good safety gear is also mandatory if you choose to speed a little bit. Helmet, knee, and elbow pads will help with that. Do not speed if it is not an absolute necessity.
And if you are riding the e-scooter at night time, you must have a light in front of your scooter. That will illuminate your path and show your presence to other vehicles as well.
Adding a red reflector in the back of your scooter is another wise decision to make. That will add another level of security that you should consider investing in.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you should not ride any individual along with you in your electric scooter. That’s a surefire way to get fined. The scooter is designed for only a single person. And you should abide by that rule of thumb.
Finally, if you get any confusion or questions about the laws, feel free to discuss it with local police officers. They will provide you with accurate information.
Frequently Asked Questions About E-Scooter Law
Let’s have a look at some of the most frequently asked questions down below.
1. What is the law on electric scooters in the UK?
Answer: The electronic scooters are legal on the roads of England, Scotland, and Wales. That was a new trial that is a 12-month trial to bring the e-scooters on their road.
The manufacturers are trying to get their scooters on the British city streets as fast as they can. But there are a few rules in the UK that a rider has to follow at all costs.
As a new way of transportation, there are not so many laws for the electric scooter riders in the UK. But there are a few basic ones that you must follow.
The first and foremost law is that the ride must be over 16 years old. Any younger kids are not allowed to ride scooters on the roads of the UK.
As it’s still on a 12-month trial, you will not get absolute freedom to ride this vehicle. You’ll need a full or provisional driving license to be able to hit the road with your e-scooter. This is mandatory.
Other than that, riding an electric scooter on any public land is prohibited and illegal in the UK.
It’s a challenge, especially on the day of the pandemic. The lockdown situations are making it worse.
Despite that, the trial will help to make e-scooters more likely to be more available in the streets of the UK. It’s a big step that may help to make the electric scooters more popular in the streets.
2. Are electric scooters legal in the USA?
Answer: It’s pretty confusing to understand what constitutes legal or illegal for an electric scooter in the USA. The reason behind it is the US federal law of electric bikes is applied to the electric scooter.
That law limits the top speed of the e-scooter to less than 20mph. And the motor power must be below 750 watts. If your scooter falls under the range of these requirements, you’ll not need to register or get a license in most states in the US.
But you probably know that the rules are not the same in every state. To identify whether riding an electric scooter is legal or not, you should check out the websites of your state. Or simply going to the nearest police station to get the information will also do the trick.
Make sure that you know the laws before you hop onto an e-scooter to save yourself from a penalty.
3. Electric scooter age limit (Is there any age limit for using the scooters ?)
Answer: Yes, there is an age limit for using the electric scooters in most states. For a motorized toy scooter, a kid has to be at least 12 to ride them.
The age limit is set to prevent the number of injuries from rising. No matter how small the ride may be, you can’t deny that a motorized scooter doesn’t involve any risk. It has a good amount of risk.
The number of motorized toy scooters are increasing drastically. Thus, the number of injuries is also increasing. Last year, roughly 4390 cases of injuries involved a motorized electric scooter.
That’s why kids under the age of 12 should not ride e-scooters. For many states, that number is 16 years.
Now you know everything you need to know on electric scooter laws. Getting clear on these laws are crucial for you if you want to ride your e-scooter safely. Also, following the laws will save you from penalties.
Whenever you are riding your scooter, make sure to have proper safety gear on. That will help you avoid any injuries. An electric scooter can be smaller, but it’s still a motor vehicle. Thus, there is always some risk involved whenever you choose to hit the road with it. You should’ve also got the answer to “Are electric scooters legal on sidewalks?”
But, it’s still a very fun ride that gets you to your destination faster and without any trouble. So try not to let anything get in the way of enjoying your ride on your electric scooter.
Hopefully, you found the information shown above helpful, and hopefully, you’ll be able to use the information for your benefit.
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