Scooters are budget-friendly and fun to ride, but are they safe? An ER doctor might give that a big NO. In Los Angeles, hospitals are seeing more injuries from scooter accidents than pedestrian or bike accidents.
California’s other drivers don’t always pay enough attention to scooter riders and might even hold a grudge against them. Making things worse, many scooter riders themselves don’t know scooter laws and aren’t sure who’s liable for an accident.
That’s a lot of scooter confusion! So let’s review the rules of the road including scooter safety, laws, and liability.
California Hospitals Have Seen a Rapid Increase in Scooter Injuries
Local hospital statistics show the serious risks of riding a scooter. Even for a devoted scooter fan, these facts are unsettling:
- 91.6% of L.A. and Santa Monica scooter rider hospitalizations come from falls, object collisions, and vehicle collisions.
- About 40% of hospitalized scooter riders have head injuries and 31% have fractures.
- Only about 4% of hospitalized scooter riders wear helmets.
- Around 11% of injured scooter riders are under the age of 18.
- 8.4% of scooter-related injuries happen to pedestrians who are walking along sidewalks and roadways.
A scooter rider’s body is openly exposed to the environment, creating a high risk of bodily injury. California ER doctors are seeing a rise in scooter-related head injuries, organ damage, dislocations, bone fractures, lung contusions, and soft-tissue injuries like road rash and deep lacerations.
Scooters in California: The Law and Your Liability
Do you know the law when it comes to scooters in California? Here’s a summary of our state’s scooter laws.
- California scooter riders must have a driver’s license or learner’s permit.
- The maximum speed for scooters is 15 mph.
- Scooters must operate in bike lanes when available.
- Scooters are prohibited from sidewalks, except when entering/exiting a property.
- Scooters are prohibited from public roads with speed limits of 25 mph or more unless traveling in a bike lane.
- It’s illegal to leave scooters unattended and blocking paths, trails, walkways, roadways, or handicapped access areas.
- No insurance, registration, or license plate is required for an electric scooter.
What about helmets? The scooter helmet law has been in flux in California. Currently, there is no specific law requiring those over a certain age to wear a helmet on an electric scooter.
Make sure your scooter is “street legal.” All scooters must have a white headlight visible at 300 feet, a red rear reflector visible at 500 feet, white/yellow side reflectors visible at 200 feet, handlebars, working brakes, and an engine kill switch.
Many scooter riders don’t realize how much responsibility they’re taking on when they rent a scooter for a few hours. Keep these things in mind:
If you hurt someone while riding a scooter, you’re liable for their injuries. The scooter company may avoid responsibility and consider it a civil matter between you and the injured person.
It can be difficult to get your insurance to cover scooter accidents. Even if you have insurance coverage provided by the scooter company, they might try to avoid paying for your accident.
If you’re struck by a scooter, getting paid for your injuries is very challenging. In these situations, everyone seems to play the “Not it!” game, including scooter riders, insurance companies, and scooter companies.
California Scooter Cases Call for Legal Representation
As you can see, there’s a huge need for scooter accident lawyers in California. Every accident creates a mess of liability and legal issues, plus this area of the law is still evolving.
After a scooter accident, contact a well-informed traffic accident lawyer who’s an expert at placing the blame where it belongs in scooter accidents. With the right lawyer by your side, you can secure the compensation you need for your injuries and losses.
Experience a serious Scooter accident?
Check out our Scooter Accident Help Page to learn more about how the process works.
We Handle Your Scooter Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a scooter accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of traffic injury law, including scooter accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. We truly care about our fellow citizens of California. Contact us for a free online case evaluation.
The laws that you should pay attention to if you’re riding an e-scooter are where to ride the scooter first of all, first of all, do not ride it on the sidewalk, that’s not permitted, people will be angry with you and also possibly report you to the cops. Then also don’t ride in the middle of traffic, try and stay to the right hand side of the lane of traffic, if there’s a bike lane, use the bike lane, that’s the safest spot for you to be, if there’s no bike lane, stay to the right, but then you’ve got to be mindful of people opening their car doors if you’re close to the parked parallel parkers. Keep within the speed limits, these e-scooters aren’t supposed to go more than 15 miles an hour, so you want to stay within that realm. You’re supposed to wear a helmet, it’s not the law, but these companies encourage you to, they don’t require you to, although they say you’re supposed to, it’s very gray area, and then they don’t supply the helmets so what are you supposed to do? Anyway, bring a helmet, wear it, that’s my recommendation. Then you have to abide by all other traffic laws. Stop at stop signs, stop at red lights, yield to pedestrians, do all the things you would do if you’re driving a car but be way more vigilant because you’re not being seen by motorists, they’re not going to see you, you need to be on the defensive. So go out there and ride safely.