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 With the shared electric scooters appear, electric scooters have greatly begun to enter people's lives. People can move from point A to point B quickly. Not only it's fun to ride, but also it can improve people's travel efficiency and allow people to explore the city thoroughly in an eco-friendly way. Meanwhile, as an emerging means of transportation, electric scooters do not have matching traffic laws in many countries. People who have purchased a scooter or are about to buy one will be very concerned about this issue. Is it legal to ride an electric scooter?

Let's take a look at a few frequently asked questions to learn more about scooter laws and regulations.

guide to electric scooter laws and regulations

CONTENTS

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an electric scooter classified as a motor vehicle?
  • Do I need a license for riding an electric scooter?
  • Where can I ride the scooter?
  • Is wearing a helmet mandatory when riding a scooter?

Scooter Laws in United States

  • California
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • Texas
  • New York

Scooter Laws in Some Other Countries

  • UK
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an electric scooter classified as a motor vehicle?

Whether an electric scooter is a motor vehicle depends on two things, speed, and power.

According to the NHTSA website:

The following scooters or scooter-like vehicles are not “motor vehicles” that must be manufactured to comply with all applicable FMVSS and be so certified to be lawfully imported into the United States:

  • Scooters lacking seats that are operated in a stand-up mode.
  • Scooters that are incapable of a top speed of 20 mph or greater.
  • Electric bicycles with operable pedals and an electric motor of 750 watts or less, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.

Despite federal guidelines, many cities in the United States are still implementing their own regulations on electric scooters.

 

  • Do I need a license for riding an electric scooter?

At present, in most states of the United States, riders do not need a license, registration, or insurance to ride electric scooters. However, if the speed and power are higher than the limit for non-motor vehicles, you need to be equipped with a corresponding driver's license and insurance according to local legal requirements.

 

  • Where can I ride the scooter?

Generally speaking, electric scooters are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk. You can ride on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or ride on bicycle lanes.

 

  • Is wearing a helmet mandatory when riding a scooter?

Some countries or regions' laws require riders to wear helmets; otherwise, they cannot ride on the road. However, there is no legal requirement in current practical applications that you must wear a helmet to ride a bicycle.

 

Scooter Laws in United States

  • California

According to California Vehicle Code (CVC), electric vehicles apply with traffic regulations for a motor vehicle (CVC§21221). Riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. There is no requirement for adult, but if there is a danger, you need to bear it yourself (§21235(c)). The maximum speed during riding cannot exceed 15 mph. If over the speed limit and result in the traffic stop, you will be fined more than $250. (CVC§22411) In addition, when riding, if you encounter a left turn, stopping after the intersection on the right curb, dismounting, and crossing the roadway on foot. These regulations have a great effect on reducing traffic accidents.

 

  • Florida

According to Florida law, electric scooters are considered motor vehicles. Therefore, it is not allowed to drive on sidewalks or bicycle lanes unless it is only driven by manpower. Whether electric scooters are illegal depends on your location in Florida. Before renting an electric scooter, take a moment to understand the regulations for your specific location. Some places allow riders to be on the sidewalk instead of on the street, others allow the complete opposite. In addition, if you want to use an electric scooter completely, some cities will require you to wear a scooter helmet or hold a driving license. If in doubt, please default to state law.

 

  • Nevada

Nevada regulations state that a person must be 16 years old to ride an electric scooter, and the speed cannot exceed 20 mph, and give local governments the ability to supervise electric scooters. Before hop on, you should check if your local municipality has introduced any rules that you should be aware of.

 

  • Texas

According to Texas law, it's legal to ride electric scooters on the streets of Texas. However, electric scooters are only legal on roads with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less. Drivers have to follow the same traffic laws as a motor vehicle. The minimum riding age should be over 16 years old. Currently, the rider is not required to have a driving license to use an electric scooter.

 

  • New York

The new law on electric scooters was passed in the summer of 2020, which means riders in New York City can use their own electric scooters and throttle-controlled electric bicycles. It should be noted that riders must be over 16 years old, and if they are under 18-year-old, they must wear helmets. Although there is no clear law requiring riders over the age of 18 to wear helmets, wearing a helmet can indeed protect your safety. You need to obey the traffic rules of motor vehicles when riding.

 

Scooter Laws in Some Other Countries

  • UK

In the UK, electric scooters are classified as personal powered transporters. Any person who uses a powered transporter on a public road or other prohibited space in breach of the law is committing a criminal offense and can be prosecuted. It is legal to use a powered transporter on private land with the permission of the landowner. But the UK government launched a trial operation of rental electric scooters in July 2020.

It should be noted that the maximum speed that can be ridden cannot exceed 15.5 mph, and you must have the category Q entitlement on your driving license and motor insurance.

Trials are taking place in these areas:

The trial area includes the following areas.

Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury and High Wycombe)

Derby

Nottingham

South Somerset (Yeovil)

Cambridge

Essex (Basildon)

Redditch

Staffordshire (Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme)

Cheshire West and Chester (Chester)

Kent (Canterbury)

Salford

Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees)

Copeland (Whitehaven)

Liverpool

Slough

West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Solihull and Kenilworth)

North Lincolnshire (Scunthorpe)

Milton Keynes

Solent (Isle of Wight)

West of England Combined Authority (Bristol and Bath)

Norwich

Northamptonshire (Kettering and Northampton)

Somerset West (Taunton)

York

 

  • Germany

Germany passed a bill legalizing electric scooters in 2019. According to the statement, civilians over the age of 14 are allowed to ride electric scooters with a maximum speed of 20 km/h on bicycle lanes or lanes. Riders do not need to have a scooter license, but they need to have insurance. If you ride without an insurance sticker, you will face a fine of 40 euros. Helmets are not mandatory but highly recommended.

 

  • Australia

There is no simple answer to the question of whether scooters are legal in Australia. The scooter's maximum speed cannot exceed 10km/h, and the motor cannot exceed 200W. In some areas, electric scooters are legally riding on public roads or bicycle roads, such as Western Australia (WA), Northern Territory (NT).

* Refer to local government policy for specific scooter laws and rules.

 

  • Canada

Generally, electric scooters and bicycles are legal in Canada. It should be noted that the range and speed of riding on the regulation. Most provinces stipulate that it is permitted on private roads, but the restrictions on bicycle lanes or sidewalks are different. Federal law has rules on electric scooters and electric bicycles, but each municipality can make minor changes to riders' places. If you want to learn more about electric scooters' laws, please visit the province's website.

 

  • France

In 2019, France enacted a law that allows electric scooters to be used on bike lanes or main road but prohibits riding electric scooters on sidewalks. The riding speed of the scooter cannot exceed 25 km/h. The user must be 12 years old and above and cannot use earphones when driving. Although there is no mandatory helmet wearing, we still recommend wearing it for safety.

Conclusion

If you plan to buy an electric scooter, then I strongly recommend that you get familiar with the laws and regulations used locally. If you have already purchased one but find that your city restricts the riding place, it will be a complete loss. Remember to check the maximum power and maximum speed allowed in your state or country before your purchase.

As more and more people adopt this transportation mode to improve our travel effectiveness, we can expect the state or the Ministry of Justice to promulgate more specific and clear legislation.

 

Check out more helpful tips from Varla Scooter:

 

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