Do You Need a License to Drive an Electric Scooter?

Please be advised that the following topic is for informational purposes only and not a legal matter currently handled by our firm. If you need further assistance regarding this particular topic, you can contact your local Bar Association for a referral to an attorney who may be able to address your inquiry in more detail.

Since companies like Bird and Lime released their rentable city scooters, electric scooters have become all the rage, especially in major California cities like San Francisco. People have even started purchasing their own electric scooters and commuting around town the same as they would on a bicycle.

However, despite the convenience and joy of riding around on an electric scooter, they also come with risks; the same as any other vehicle. It’s not uncommon nowadays to experience an electric scooter accident in California with this sudden increase of scooters on the road. 

As such, it’s important to know your local city or state’s rules and regulations regarding electric scooters to keep yourself safe.  

Electric scooters are not the same as the smaller scooters you might have had as a child or a teenager. And not everyone is allowed to ride electric scooters, as some states have electric scooter age requirements and license requirements. 

So, do you need a license to drive an electric scooter in California? Let’s find out. 

San Francisco, CA Electric Scooter Laws

California law defines an electric scooter as a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor that has handlebars and a floorboard for riders to stand on. These vehicles may also be referred to as E-scooters. 

While there are no national laws governing the use of electric scooters, state and city governments may set their own laws and regulations concerning the use of electric scooters. In San Francisco, CA, and most other California cities, the electric scooter laws are as follows:

  • You cannot ride an electric scooter on a sidewalk. You may only operate them on bike paths and trails.
  • You can ride electric scooters on the road, but only in areas where the speed limit does not exceed 25 mph. 
  • Those operating an electric scooter may not exceed a speed of 15 mph.
  • Only one person may ride an electric scooter at a time. You may not ride with passengers.
  • Those under 18 must wear a helmet while riding an electric scooter.
  • You do not need to register an electric scooter with the DMV, nor do you need to obtain a license plate. 

Do You Need a License to Drive an Electric Scooter in California?

Yes, operating an electric scooter requires a license. Under California Vehicle Code, anyone who operates a motorized scooter, such as an E-scooter, must carry a driver’s license.

Companies like Bird and Lime even require riders to first scan their license into the app before they are permitted to ride. The class of license, however, does not matter. As long as you have some form of driver’s license, you can ride an electric scooter in California. 

Even those with learner’s permits are allowed to operate electric scooters in California. However, remember that if you are under the age of 18, you must wear a helmet. 

If you ride an electric scooter in California without a license, you could face an infraction or a misdemeanor accompanied by a fine. An infraction in California can result in up to a $250 fine, and a misdemeanor could result in up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. 

What is the Electric Scooter Age Requirement in California?

The electric scooter age requirement in California is based on the license requirement. Since you must carry a license to operate an electric scooter, you must therefore be old enough to obtain a license. 

Thus, you must generally be 16 to operate an electric scooter in California. However, those with learner’s permits are also allowed to ride an E-scooter, and the age at which you can obtain a learner’s permit in California is 15 ½ years old. 

We Handle Your Electric Scooter Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life

If you are injured in an electric scooter accident, our team of California personal injury attorneys can help. 

As electric scooters are still somewhat new, there are no clearly defined traffic regulations regarding their operation, except those listed above. As such, filing a claim and determining fault can be challenging, be we are up to the task!

At Sally Morin, we have experience with a wide range of accident cases, including those involving electric scooters. Let us help you navigate your claim so you can focus on rest and recovery after the accident. 

Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.

Accident Client

Sally represented my personal injury case last year and IÕm glad I found her. Sally and her entire office were extremely helpful, patient and responsive with my husband and me the entire time. She regularly checked in on me during my recovery and kept me up to date on status of the case and conversations with the other parties insurance company. My case wasnÕt large but she treated me as if I was one of her only cases. IÕve already recommended Sally to friends and thatÕs the highest recommendation I could offer.

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