Electric scooters have become incredibly popular in Los Angeles. Over the summer, thousands of scooters popped up across the city, thanks in part to concerted efforts by scooter companies Lime, Byrd, Lyft and Jump. Scooters offer a great alternative to driving a car or riding a bike, but can also be incredibly dangerous. The risk of an accident increases significantly when riders are negligent and fail to follow local laws and regulations.
Do I Have to Have a License to Ride a Scooter?
California has licensing and operation regulations that are specific to each type of vehicle on the road.
Electric scooters don’t have a classification of their own. Instead, they fall under the category of “motorized scooters.” In order to ride a motorized scooter in Los Angeles, you must hold a valid driver’s license.
Electric scooters are actually very similar to mopeds. This can cause a lot of confusion, as they are treated differently under the law. Scooters do not require a motorcycle license for operation. Mopeds, on the other hand, do require a motorcycle license.
How can I tell if a vehicle qualifies as an electric scooter? In order to be classified as an electric scooter the vehicle must have:
- Two wheels
- A motor, and
- A floorboard that riders can stand on while operating the device.
It’s also possible for electric scooters to have seats. However, that’s not a requirement.
What Are the Scooter Laws in Los Angeles?
Anyone operating an electric scooter in Los Angeles is required to obey applicable laws and regulations. Unfortunately, many riders aren’t familiar with the laws that apply to scooters. When you’re not sure which laws apply to you, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident.
Regulations that are applicable to electric scooters in Los Angeles include:
- Scooters may not be operated on sidewalks
- Scooters may not carry passengers
- Scooters must be operated with the flow of traffic, when possible, and
- Scooters may not operate at a speed greater than 15 MPH.
Scooter operators are encouraged to use dedicated bike lanes whenever possible. Riding alongside cars, trucks, and motorcycles can increase the risk of serious injury in the event of an accident.
Do I Have to Wear a Helmet When Riding a Scooter?
If you rode an electric scooter in Los Angeles this spring, state law required the use of a helmet. However, things are changing. Lawmakers are trying to shift how electric scooters are classified in the state. Part of this effort involves changing the laws and regulations that apply to recreational scooter use. Under the new e-scooter law, helmets are no longer required in the state of California.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Los Angeles Electric Scooter Accident?
Accidents involving electric scooters in Los Angeles have increased significantly over the past few months. Los Angeles-area emergency departments have reported hundreds receiving hundreds of scooter accident victims, many with serious injuries. If you’re involved in a scooter accident it’s important to know what to do. The decisions you make will affect any personal injury claim you decide to file in the future.
- See a Doctor: Get to the hospital and ask for a full medical evaluation. While many scooter-related injuries will be obvious, others will not. You’ll want to make sure that all of your injuries are diagnosed and treated immediately. This will reduce the risk of complications and infection.
- Call the Police: It’s important to call the police after an accident. An officer will arrive on the scene and complete a report. This report will contain details about your accident that you may forget over the next hours, days, and weeks. You can get a copy of this report to help your attorney conduct a thorough investigation.
- Report the Accident: Accidents in Los Angeles must be reported to the DMV if there is significant property damage or if anyone is injured or killed. The report will be crucial if you decide to ask for compensation from an insurance company.
- Refuse Early Settlements: If your scooter was struck by a car you may be entitled to compensation from the driver. This money will typically come from their insurance company. Insurance companies aren’t on your side and want to limit the payout you receive. They may approach you with an early settlement offer if they think they can make your case go away quickly, quietly, and inexpensively. Money may be tempting, but it’s important to refuse these early offers. They’re usually not enough to cover the full cost of your injuries.
- Contact an Attorney: If you want to pursue compensation for your scooter accident injuries, the best thing you can do is hire an attorney. Your attorney will be familiar with applicable law and procedure and can protect you from manipulative insurers. Let your attorney handle your personal injury case while you focus on getting better. You’re more likely to maximize your financial award when you ask an attorney for help.
Do you want to learn more about how to recover compensation after a Los Angeles scooter accident? Contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP to schedule a consultation with our experienced legal team. We’re here to help you get the money you deserve after an accident.