Laws that Govern the Use of
Electric Scooter and Mobility Scooter on the Highways
More of the population are turning to motorized
mobility equipment as cheap electric scooters become more available, and
as our senior population increases. As more elderly and infirm take
to the highways on their mobility wheels, this is presenting some issues
pertaining to their health and safety, and the safety of pedestrians.
There have been a number of incidents over
the past few years of electric mobility scooter accidents on the highways.
An influencing factor in this is that either electric scooters take to
the highways where it is not safe alongside automobiles, or electric scooters
are used on sidewalks where they can pose a risk to pedestrians.
Class 3 electric scooters are marketed
as ‘highway worthy’ as they have lights and indictors and can travel at
speeds of 8mph. If you planning on taking an electric scooter on
the road you are highly recommended to familiarize yourself with any local
or municipal legislation.
Many scooter users are surprised to discover
that they are still classified as a pedestrian, and can therefore legally
ride their scooter anywhere a pedestrian is allowed to walk. Although
most cities and towns are very accommodating of electric scooters, this
means that a scooter no more belongs in a traffic lane than a pedestrian.
There are places and situations where a pedestrian must cross or be in
a traffic lane, but these situations would only occur when crossing a roadway,
or if the regular sidewalk is inaccessible. In both of these cases, the
electric scooter rider should take the same precautions as any pedestrian,
such as crossing only at intersections or crosswalks, ride the side of
the road FACING traffic and exercise all the same caution as a pedestrian.
That means that these scooters should not use traffic lanes, turning lanes
or any part of the roadways reserved for motor vehicles.
Generally the laws for electric assistive
mobility devices are similar to the operation of bicycles. Where highway
legislation refers to a "Moped" this refers to any vehicle that travels
on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground that has (i) a
seat that is no less than 24 inches in height, measured from the middle
of the seat perpendicular to the ground and (ii) gasoline, electric, or
hybrid motor that displaces less than 50 cubic centimeters. Obviously
this is where the law can sometimes not adequately stipulate legislation
governing four-wheel electric scooters.
Unfortunately, due to the poor state of
sidewalks in some states, more and more electric scooter users are forced
onto our roadways. If you are an electric scooter user, and at times
need to use a roadway, ensure you make your scooter as visible as possible.
Add reflector stripping, a tall bright pennant and other visibility aids
such as cyclists do.
You should check with your state Division
of Motor Vehicles so that you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities.
Disclaimer: This article is provided solely
as guidance and does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible
for knowing and following the laws that pertain to electric scooter use
in your local area or state.